Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spotlight on Guest Author Rita Henuber

Please welcome fellow military romantic suspense author Rita Henuber to the blog today! She's got quite an amazing family military history, and a brand new release to share with us today that I know you'll want to get your hands on. Take it away, Rita!

            Thank you for inviting me to blog.
            I write about extraordinary women and the men they love. Military heroines.  Women at the top of their field in a man’s world. They don’t want a man to take care of them they want a man who will accept them for who they are and stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their adventures. I’m frequently asked why I write military stories and more to the point why are my heroines the ones in the military. 

            Well, I come from a family, who over the years, have served in every branch of the service in every conflict since WWI. I have ancestors who served in British conflicts back to the early 1800’s. Two great, great, great, great uncles were in the Charge of the Light Brigade. Thomas Dunn, a corporal, and Alexander James Dunn, a lieutenant were members of the 11th Hussars, a British Army unit. Lieutenant Dunn was killed in the battle. Corporal Dunn was one of the fabled survivors. 

            I have stories of family in WWI but no proof.  SO, fast forward to the next war to end all wars and I have many, many relatives who served. Some weren’t even in the military. Half of my family lives in Florida. Have since the early 1920s. An uncle owned several shrimp boats. One day, after the start of WWII, some scary guys in suits and uniforms showed up and said his boats were needed to protect the east coast from U-boats. There was no please. No thank you. No payment. All his boats were taken and he never got them back. He never complained. He was proud he could help. 

            My daddy trained Coast Guard recruits in Florida and Washington State, and patrolled in the North Atlantic riding shotgun for convoys.   

            Another Uncle was a Navy ace in that war and in Korea.

            One uncle, on the other side of my family, was home in December 1941 for 30 days of leave before he was to report to his next duty. His next duty? The USS Arizona in Hawaii.

            My husband’s uncle served in Germany. 

            Hubs was a Marine and served in Vietnam.

            One son was with the first Marines into Bagdad.

            There are many others but I think you get the point. The military in is my DNA.
            The next question is why write military heroines? I feel like the women in the service of this country are under appreciated. 

             George Washington credits winning the war against England to six colonial spies who risked their lives to bring him information. One of them was a woman whose name has never been discovered. 

            Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor for her efforts during the Civil War. Her name was deleted from the Medal of Honor Roll in 1917. She was asked to return the medal and refused, wearing it every day until she died. 

                        Agnes Meyer Driscoll known as Madame X, an American cryptanalyst for the U.S. Navy during World War I was a brilliant code breaker. 

            During WWII over 1000 women in this country flew every type of military aircraft, ferrying them to military bases and departure points. They were test pilots and towed targets to give gunners training. Their service wasn’t recognized until the 70s.

            I have a special place in my heart for the nurses who took care of our soldiers in Vietnam. 

            The person who is credited with finding the terrorist leader who ordered the 9/11 attacks (I refuse to say his name) is a woman. 
My question is: why don’t we have more books with military heroines?

My new book, Point of No Return, is about a female Marine Corps Intelligence officer. She is smart, tough and a patriot. 

A hot sexy prequel, No Holding Back, is free and tells how my hero and heroine met.  


Rita grew up running the beaches of a barrier island on Florida's east coast. An island brat, she spent more time climbing weathered oaks and chasing alligators than playing with the dolls her family gave her. She married a Marine and feels fortunate to have lived many places and traveled to the states and countries she didn't live. Leaving government service she moved back to that barrier island where she writes contemporary fiction weaving her experiences into her story telling. Her heroes and heroines are either in the military or government service because she writes what she knows. Her father was in the Coast Guard and immediate family members served in every branch of the service as desk jockeys, grunts, pilots and everything in between. She's experienced the highs and lows of military and government life, and is grateful for each experience.

web site
Twitter       @ritahenuber

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

U.S. Navy SEALs In A Box

Boxed sets have become the rage. Oh stop it, those of you who roll your eyes! Readers love them. And as authors, we can get so into our writing caves, we forget how to be social, play fair, play nice and have a community other than our best buds to get drunk with or gossip with. Not every author does this, thank god.

I've been blessed to work with some incredible authors over the past six months. Marliss Melton has been my oldest and dearest military writer friend, and I was so excited to do the SEALed With A Kiss Anthology, the only all-SEAL Anthology, with her and the other wonderful writers in that boxed set. As someone who has admired her for years, it was truly an honor to get to actually work with her, and to be included in something she has done.

What readers get in these anthologies is variety. A
blending of voices and writing styles. I think readers like to be entertained by reading DIFFERENT things. While this may be the exception for some, most readers now cross genres, and even read from eBooks to print books to Audio books. In fact, at the Tucson Festival of Books, where I braved the crowd of 125,000 book lovers attending, I asked readers how they read books. In 2013 it was split between eReaders and print books. This year, people told me they did all three. If they liked the book, they bought the print book, and then bought the audio. Wow. I didn't near that comment last year at the festival or anywhere. Good. To. Know.

So, boxed sets are our way of inexpensively getting the word out to new readers, by pooling our reader base and cross polinating them. And, while I love miitary romance and it is my biggest in terms of sales, now I am seeing readers go from the military romance to paranormal and back again. Readers are following an author's voice across different genres. We used to have it hammered into our heads that we had to stick to one genre, and if we switched, we'd better change our pen names. Perhaps it was the old publishing model that made us all think this was so.

This is good news for readers. Now they have that variety that was always desired. They have that blending of genres and worlds, at the same time loving the voices of their favorite authors. How cool is that?

Having participated in 5 boxed sets, plus 3 others in the works, I decided perhaps it was time to put my own SEALs in a box. So, that's what I've done.

The Ultimate SEAL Collection is books 1-4 of the SEAL Brotherhood Series, along with two novellas written as prequels to the first two books. I placed it for sale at $9.99, but today, and for the next few days, it will be .99. 

And you, dear reader, are the winner. It is for you that I write these stories of my heart. Where the men are brave, and the women are a match to them in honor and moral strength. Where our gentlemen of the Trident come home safe and whole. Where good always triumphs over evil and true love heals every ill. It's my way of playing the Wizard. My fantasy. Because in my world everyone finds their true love, eventually and heals with the love of their life.

How about you? Do you find new authors by reading anthologies? And do you like reading one author anthologies?

I will pick one winner today (at random) from everyone making a comment. That person will have their choice of a free audio book, or print book, or Kindle version of any of my books. Good luck, and thanks for going on the journey with me.

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bromance in Military Romance

by Laura Kaye

One of my favorite things about writing military romance is getting to write about a group of guy friends bonded indelibly by the experience of war and, often, loss. Military units create bands of brothers that are just wonderful to write about and, honestly, I enjoy writing a good bromantic scene as much as I do one between the romantic leads.

So, today, I thought I'd share one of my favorite bromance moments from my recent release, Hard As You Can (Hard Ink #2). In this scene, Nick and Shane (the heroes from books one and two, respectively) are using boxing gloves to work through the issues that have kept them from fully connecting as friends and partners in the year since they've been discharged from the Army. Read on...

They circled, attacked, and retreated over and over, neither man holding the advantage for long. Nick clipped him in the mouth, and Shane felt the skin split and the metallic tang of blood on his tongue. So evenly matched, their fight turned into a war of attrition that threatened to go on and on. Exhaustion making his arms heavy and his responses slower, Shane used the memory of the train of unanswered calls and emails, each one leaving him feeling more alone and isolated, and found the will to keep going, keep fighting, keep exorcising the demons in his head that never let up for five fucking seconds.

It was just . . . all . . . too . . . goddamned . . . much. Wham. His fist connected with Nick’s cheekbone like a sledgehammer. Nick’s head whipped to the side, and his whole body spun as if in slow motion.

Nick caught himself just before he face-planted, though he stumbled until he crashed into the bench press. For a long moment, Nick braced his gloves against the leather-covered bench and seemed to gather himself. He rose and faced Shane, and it was clear from the stiffness and slowness of his movement that he was hurting.

Shane didn’t take a lick of pleasure from that fact. Just the opposite. The sight of his best friend bloodied and injured at his own hands drained the fight from him. Becca was going to have both their asses in a sling when she saw that the nearly healed cut on Nick’s cheekbone was open again. The initial wound wasn’t Shane’s doing—that had been between Nick and Beckett.

“Goddamnit,” Shane rasped, wiping the sweat off his brow with the back of his forearm. His mouth took over where his fists left off. “I needed you, Nick. I fucking needed you, and you weren’t there.”

Nick’s head dropped heavily on his shoulders. For a long moment, labored breaths aside, he was still. Then his gaze cut up, and Nick nodded. “I know. I . . . know.”

Shane waited, expecting more. Expecting . . . something. Anything. That Nick had needed him, too. That Nick was sorry. That he understood just how deep his silence had cut. “That’s it? That’s all you have to say?”

“What else is there to say?” Nick pulled off his gloves. And there it was. Same story, different day. Guy still didn’t get it, did he? Shane tugged off his gloves, returned them to a shelf against the wall, and shook his head. “Not a damn thing, I guess.” Shane reached for the door handle.

Jesus. What do you want me to say?” The agonized whisper had Shane turning back to his friend. “Do you want me to say I was so fucked in the head I became depressed? Do you want me to say I should’ve figured out what Merritt was doing? Because I know that shit is true. And that, since I didn’t see the forest for the trees, I was so guilt-ridden I couldn’t face you guys? That I thought you’d all blame me for ruining your lives and killing our friends?” Nick’s eyes were bleak with anguish.

Shane’s gut went tight as a hollowness settled into his chest. “Nick—”

“Or maybe you want me to say it was easier to ignore you than face the possibility that I’d lost you, too? Because you had to hate me as much as I hated myself, right? Or, how ’bout that the pain of the surgeries and the PT was so intense I got hooked on painkillers for about three months until Jeremy realized what’d happened, flushed them down the toilet, and called my doctor behind my back?” Nick scrubbed his hands over his face, smearing the blood on his cheek, and clawed his fingers through his dark, sweaty hair.

Christ. How the hell had the guy carried all this around for the past year without caving under the weight of it? Just went to show that you never really knew the size of the load another person carried. Except—Shane should’ve known. He was supposed to be Nick’s best friend in the world. His brother. Damnit. Shane should’ve forced the question.

As Nick stood there pouring his soul in a bloody mess onto the floor between them, it occurred to Shane for maybe the first time ever that he’d failed Nick as much as he’d always thought Nick failed him. If he’d only pushed through his own hurt and anger, maybe he would’ve realized that under normal circumstances, the Nick Rixey he knew would never shut him out. But things hadn’t been normal, had they? Not by a long shot.


Shane released a long breath, then crossed the space that separated them and lowered himself heavily onto the bench. “Sitcha ass down before you fall down.”

Nick sat and dropped his gloves. Bracing his elbows on his knees, Shane watched a bead of sweat drop to the concrete. “I wish I’d known.” From his peripheral vision, he saw Nick nod.

“I know. I wish I’d been strong enough to tell you.” Shane’s thoughts were in a whirl. Which made sense since the earth was shifting a bit underneath his feet, at least where his beliefs about Nick were concerned.

Knock, knock, sounded against the door that led to the hall. A moment later, it eased open, and Becca stuck her head through the breach. Did she hear . . .


Her expression was a study in worry and concern. How much she’d overheard, he didn’t know. But it was something, for sure.

“Um. Everything okay?” she asked, clearly knowing the answer to the question. She stepped the rest of the
way in and let the door fall closed behind her.

Nick’s glance slid from her to Shane. The man’s eyes repeated the question. Are we okay?

Shane didn’t want an audience to say the things he needed to say, and the words weren’t there just yet anyway.

So he said, simply, “Yeah, man. We are.” It wasn’t enough, but it was a start.

Did you have a favorite line from the excerpt? Or do you have a favorite fictional bromance?

Thanks for reading!

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About Hard As You Can:
Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
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.

Read an Extended Excerpt of Book 1, Hard As It Gets
Buy Hard As You Can at Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Saturday, March 15, 2014

From Cowboy Boots to Combat Boots

In last month's post I talked about Rough Stock and how it was my first foray into writing a cowboy with a military career. Well, it might have been my first but it has not been my last. My ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY features a part time bull rider, who is also in the Army. The best part? The eBook is on sale thru 3/25 $1.99, that's 80% off!

Below is an excerpt of what my hero Tuck faces in Afghanistan, when he realizes he's not in Oklahoma anymore, and maybe he should have taken care of some things before he left.


“Hold on to your hat…ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY is one sexy romp with a sweet and hot hero you’ll want to keep around for longer than one night!” ~ Lorelei James, NY Times Best Seller

An Oklahoma Nights Romance, Book 1
a USA Today Best Seller
eBook Sale $1.99 thru 3/25 (80% off!)

One Sweet Ride…
Oh yeah. A single look at the leggy blonde in the stands and Tucker Jenkins is
ready to buck all night long. It’s time to forget all about his cheating ex and his usual hands off policy.
One Hot Night…
Becca Hart is an East Coast professor. Not a buckle bunny.  But no degree can prepare her for the moves of the sexy bull rider she hooks up with at her first rodeo … Or the shock of finding him at her first Oklahoma State University staff meeting.
One Happy Ending…
Tuck knows it’s all about holding on, no matter how wild the ride. Now he just has to convince Becca that a rough start out of the chute doesn’t mean they aren’t a smokin’ combination …

“So, you got a girl at home, Jenkins?”
The rounds had slowed, but they sure as hell hadn’t stopped. Maybe the enemy fighters were starting to run out of ammo and were forced to ration it. Good. Maybe they’d run out completely. That thought gave him a small amount of hope.
 “You want to talk about home now?” Tuck still had to raise his voice to answer.
Conseco shrugged beneath his body armor. “Sure. Why not? You got something better to do?”
Tuck glanced at him. “I’d feel better if I were shooting back.”
“We all would.” Conseco blew out a sound of disgust. “If you’d like some ventilation holes in your helmet, go ahead. Stand up and try to take a shot. Otherwise, we’re stuck here waiting.”
They exchanged looks, and Tuck realized Conseco was right. He gave in and answered. “No, I don’t have a girl at home. Well, I kind of did. But not really. I don’t know.”
Tuck realized how pitiful that sounded. He laughed, but it was short, more like a wheeze as the bullets peppering the ground in front of him kicked up enough dust to make him choke.
“You don’t know?” Conseco laughed.
“I’m not quite sure.” Pressing back as close as he could against the wall—and safety—Tuck admitted the sorry truth. “I didn’t mean to, but I think I might have totally ended any chance we had by leaving.”
That he wasn’t sure where he stood with Becca, where he wanted things to stand between them, was a pretty sad state of affairs. Especially since today could be his last.
“Sounds like there’s a story there.” Conseco angled just his head toward Tuck. “Tell me about her. What happened?”
“Seriously? You want to hear it all?” The incoming fire had slowed to sporadic bursts, making talking a little easier.
“Sure, I’m bored and we could be here a while. It’ll help pass the time. I’ve heard all these other sorry bastards’ stories a hundred times over the last nine months. It’ll be refreshing to hear something new for a change.”
Tuck had never felt so helpless, and Conseco was bored and wanted to chitchat. But in this situation the man next to him was the one with experience, and like it or not, Tuck was the cherry.
Since he hadn’t been struck yet, he calmed himself enough to glance around them and reevaluate the hellish situation. Shooting back was out of the question. Even if his weapon was trained in on where the insurgents were hiding, which it wasn’t, to get a clear shot he’d have to expose himself to their hail of bullets.
His teammate was right. The best thing to do was sit and wait for air support, or for the bad guys to run out of ammo. Either way, it was going to be a little while.
“All right.” Tuck shrugged and was reminded of the weight of his pack braced against the rock wall.
Even though he’d never told the story in its entirety, not even to his best friends, he swallowed away the dry grit in his mouth and launched into the tale of two city girls who walked into a rodeo one July night in Oklahoma. He somehow felt he had to tell it, from start to finish. That another living person knowing it all would keep the memory alive because there was a very real chance he wouldn’t leave this valley. At least not that way . . . alive.
He glossed over the very intimate bedroom details, but told Conseco everything else, right down to his deciding to leave when they got caught in the library on the security video and how he thought he had to, before they both got into trouble.
When he’d finished, Conseco shook his head. “That’s a hell of a story. Sounds like true love to me. Like a damn fairy tale.”
“Nah. We weren’t that serious.” The statement rang so false in his ears, he elaborated to make it sound more convincing. “Just having some fun together.”
That didn’t sound any more truthful.
Love. The other reason Tuck had left in such a hurry. Love was a word Tuck had deliberately avoided saying or even thinking, yet Conseco spat it out easily. Maybe daily near-death experiences did that to a man. The fear of love and getting hurt by it was starting to feel ridiculous as real pain, the kind inflicted by automatic weapons, loomed literally at their feet.
But as for the fairy tale? No. Tuck couldn’t embrace that concept even a little bit, because being crouched against a rock face braced for the impact of the bullet that would take his life while Becca was back in Oklahoma totally unaware of why he’d really left was certainly no fairy tale ending.
“Here’s my question.” Conseco paused to spit a dribble of tobacco-tinged saliva into the dirt. “If you were having so much fun, then why the hell did you leave her and volunteer to come to this shit hole? I would have said fuck it to the university and their fucking rules and kept seeing her on the sly.”
Another bullet hit close enough to Tuck he could hear the whoosh of it passing his ear. To hell with it. If this were the last thing he ever said, the last man he ever spoke to, he intended on speaking the truth. That old saying was true. There were no atheists in foxholes, and though he would give a year’s salary just to have a foxhole to hide in right now, this shale crevice was close enough.
As if Conseco was a priest and Tuck at confession, he finally spoke the truth. “I guess I left because I love her.”
“Did you tell her you love her?” Conseco’s dirt-encrusted brows rose beneath the rim of his helmet.
“No.” A round hit particularly close, sending shards of rock into Tuck’s face. He closed his eyes to protect them and then blinked away the dust.
Conseco let out a snort. “You should have.”
Didn’t Tuck know it.

$1.99 Sale ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY thru 3/25

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Cover and Excerpt from Embattled Home...

My schedule has been knocked wonky over the past few months and Chad's book, Embattled Home, has been bumped back a few months. I'm on a roll right now and under a traveling deadline, so I hope to have him done within the next few weeks. Fingers Crossed!
Anyway, I thought I would post the cover for those who haven't seen it and add a brand new, never before read excerpt!

And now the unedited, subject-to-change excerpt~~

“I promise you I won’t turn around. Harper is outside, Flynn is in the barn and Mercy is in the house with the family. Everybody is taken care of. You need to take a few minutes for yourself.”
Lora looked at the temptation. The water was steaming. She wondered if it was as hot as it looked. Reaching out, she ran her fingers through the water. Oh, it felt so good. She glanced at Chad’s broad back. She knew for a fact she could strip naked and dance the tango and he would not turn around. He’d given his word. The gazebo was enclosed, the shutters drawn. Nobody would see her.
Screw it.
Before she could talk herself out of it, she stripped out of her clothes, dropping them onto a low bench along the wall. Cheyenne’s one-piece slid up over her hips easily and fit her surprisingly well. A little gappy in the boob area, but there was nothing to be done for it. She then unwound the Ace bandage from her wrist, dropping it on top of the clothes. Crossing to the stairs she slid a foot into the water, moaning at the warmth that welcomed her. Stepping all the way into the tub, she lowered herself into the water and pushed to the side. Shuddering with the sharp temperature, but relishing it, she settled into the corner of the tub, her head resting on the back edge.
The heat sank into her bones, chasing away the chill of the past few months. It was the warmest she’d been in as long as she could remember. “This is heavenly, Chad.”
He chuckled quietly, but didn’t turn around. “I thought you’d like it. My mother is a soaker too, bubble bath, the whole bit, so my dad got her this a few years ago. She likes to take midnight breaks, when the ranch is completely quiet.”
“Does your dad join her?”
“Mm, sometimes. When she can talk him into it.”
Lora swirled her hand through the water, restless.
“Chad,” she hesitated.
He turned his head enough that she could see his face in profile, lit from behind by the house lights, but he kept his eyes down on the ground. As he’d promised he would.
“Are we safe here?” she whispered.
“Yes,” he answered firmly. “I wouldn’t have brought you out here if I thought otherwise.”
He faced the house, feet planted. Looking at him from behind, his back seemed so broad, his legs so long. She wanted to explore him, to take her time and touch every square inch of his body.
Lora knew, though, that he would never make the first move. It would be up to her to do that.
And she didn’t know if she had the courage.
Cheyenne’s challenging words came back to her, and her resolve solidified.
“Can you turn around please?”
He’d been still before, but now it was if he were frozen in time. For several long seconds, she didn’t even hear him breathe. But then he swiveled on one boot heel to face her.
Lora sank down into the water until only her shoulders were exposed. His gaze travelled over her as if he could see more, though.
“Would you join me?”
Lora actually heard him swallow from several feet away and it gave her courage that he was nervous.
“I don’t know if that’s such a great idea.”
He took a step forward across the deck, then a few more, until he stood at the side of the tub. “I’ll have to take the prosthetic off,” he admitted.
Lora hadn’t even thought about that. “Okay.” She was struck with something, then, and she grinned. “Want me to turn around?”
She thought she’d been funny but he gave her the strangest look.
“If you keep giving me smiles like that, you can look at anything you want.”
Her laughter faded at the sincerity she saw in his shadowed face and her heart started to thud as his fingers reached for the snaps on his shirt.
Hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for a release date for Embattled Home!