Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Danger Close

Woohoo! Book 4 of my Bagram Special Ops series releases today!

Danger Close picks up right at the end of Lethal Pursuit (book 3) and moves stateside where a lethal threat is hatching.

The most dangerous threats of all…

Partway through her third deployment to Bagram, Army nurse Lt. Erin Kelly is burned out and headed for a well-deserved leave back home in Montana. But when a mysterious stranger shows up and unintentionally drags her into harm’s way with him, she suddenly finds herself an unwitting target of the U.S.’s number one high value target: the notorious American-born terrorist known as Rahim. Now stuck in a CIA safe house with the sexy operative, it’s impossible to ignore the explosive attraction between them…or to forget that death is stalking them both. 

Are the ones you don’t see coming.

CIA operative Wade Sandberg is a man caught between worlds. He’s spent the past three years living deep undercover amongst the enemy, infiltrating the network of the U.S.’s most wanted terrorist—until the kidnapping of a high-ranking American official forced him to blow his cover. Officially sidelined from the investigation to bring down Rahim, Wade knows he’ll never be able to work in the region again. When he’s sent back stateside with Erin, keeping his hands off her proves to be even harder than making the transition back into western civilization. And when Rahim takes his revenge by unleashing a devastating attack on U.S. soil, Wade will do everything in his power to protect the woman he loves and destroy the man who’d once trusted him with his life.

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 Hope you enjoy this next installment of the Bagram Special Ops series. Up next is the start of a spinoff series from my Titanium Security books, featuring FBI Agent Jake Evers. 

Happy reading,
Kaylea Cross

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Making Choices

Flying The Flag. Making the Choices.

Posted this blog in honor of Veteran's Day last year. But it still applies today. Don't get tired of saying it.

Before you read this blog, read this great article about Ernie Napper and the flag retreat at Disneyland.

You're going to probably wonder what this post has to do with Veteran's Day, one of the holidays our family celebrates in our own quiet way. Stick with me for a few minutes.

Wanted to make it to the Petaluma parade today, but have other blogging and writing obligations. I'm a big fan of parades, though. I remember my grandpa riding his horse, Bobbie Rex, in the DAV unit in Fresno. 

I also love to look at the cemetery when it's filled with flags. The sounds of them rustling in the wind makes me cry every time I see/hear it. I heard the rush of acres of flags at a WWII cemetery in Tunisia a few years ago and I had the same reaction then as now. At local celebrations I love watching the older men and women who've served this great country get up out of their wheelchairs sometimes to salute. And the motorcycle riders who block the demonstrators with their hateful banners aimed at the families of the fallen, a right of free speech others paid for with blood.

I'm reading a great book, oddly recommended by our Romance Writers of America magazine this month (I know), called Getting More, by Stuart Diamond. It isn't what you think. It isn't about winning at all costs, or carving out your piece of the pie. It's about understanding where you fit in, where you can collaborate, where and why you should connect and give back, sometimes with the ultimate sacrifice. Here's a great example:

"Too often people think they can meet their goals only at the expense of others...If you meet your goals today at the expense of the long term, you have served yourself poorly. Getting More means meeting your goals for all relevant people and periods..."

He goes on to say, "Once you have identified your goals, it is important to keep asking, 'Are my actions meeting my goals?' The world is full of people who fail to do this. They get emotional or distracted or are just not thinking this way. It goes for you and it goes for others you care about."

The getting emotional part I just cannot contain. Guilty as charged. My grandmother and I used to sit together on her overstuffed couch in the parsonage in Napa and cry during Lassie. That was back in the day when my brother and I would spend part of our summer vacation with them. Sometimes we'd get moved to that couch in the middle of the night if a woman and her children needed a home for the night to get away from an abusive relationship. I thought every family fed homeless people, sent cookies to shut-ins at hospitals, and took in badly battered women and their scared-to death-children. That was what I grew up with.

So why would I focus on goals today when we are celebrating veterans this weekend? Because they blazed the path, paid the sacrifice so we could live lives of meaning and purpose, so we could give back where we can and not worry about what we can't. So we can say thank you to those that make it their mission in life to serve, with only the minimal recognition we give them. Because that's not their goal. They don't need the parades. We do. So we never forget to be grateful.

Sacrifice is never fair. Trust me, having raised 4 children, I'm not always fair, and I used to tell them all the time I would screw up, and did often. But the goal in our family has always been to celebrate life, all forms of life, to treat people with respect, and to work for things worthwhile.

Earl Nightingale used to define success as, "The achievement of a worthwhile goal." He used to say that, "Successful negotiation is the result of a good presentation." I think Stuart Diamond would agree with this principle. You have to know what you want to get the things you want out of life. You have to know what people around you want to create, that "clan" of supporters that help you along the way, as you help them. It is in the helping others that you become a better person, which in turns brings more success, and certainly a lot of satisfaction into our lives. And helps us give more. 

And there is one other person I check with on a regular basis. The great man upstairs. He's never given me bad instructions and when I listen, he is patient and wise. I may not be one who is called on to fight on a battlefield, like my imaginary SEALs do, like the men I love so dearly do in the real SEAL community. But my mission in life is to stay aligned with a plan and purpose bigger than I am. 

And to thank those who died or suffer ongoing so that I can live the life of my dreams. My goal is not to waste, but use fully what I have been so generously given, to live with the full-on intensity of my being.


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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Flashback Fifteenth...

TREY (Red Hot & Blue) Cat Johnson

There's "Throwback Thursday" on Facebook, so I decided why not have a "Flashback Fifteenth" here today and revisit one of my first ever military romance releases!

It was TREY, Book 1 in the Red, Hot & Blue series, the one that launched the series twelve books and many years ago, but I still love that story.

The Red Hot & Blue series has finished but I've got some news, I'm launching a new romantic suspense series this July.

Want all the news on the new series and on any new releases or sales? Sign up for email alerts at

Red Hot & Blue, Book 1

They can’t deny the heat—it’s the only thing keeping them alive.

A distracted soldier is a dead solder. That’s special operative Trey Williams’ motto. The last thing he needs in his life is a girlfriend. Problem is, the woman who’s been recruited to pose as his wife on a special assignment is proving to be exactly the kind of distraction he can’t afford.

Years ago, Carly McAfee turned her back not only on her military career, but the men who come with it. So why did she say yes to a mission that puts her in intimate contact with Trey, under 24/7 surveillance by both bad guys and good? One slip, and they’re both dead. It’s not long, though, before her body betrays her, followed closely by her heart.

With a terrorist arms deal going down and missing teammate’s life on the line, Carly and Trey must throw caution to the wind in the scorching-hot performance of their lives—and try not to lose their hearts and minds in the process.

Warning: Contains bad men with big guns and video cameras, and an unmarried couple who need to get naked and get busy acting very married to save both their country and their lives.

An excerpt from Trey

“Hey, darlin’. Why don’t you give in and go out with me? Give up all this cat and mouse. Games are fun and all, but I know we could have a lot more fun together.”

Would Jack ever stop trying? His resilience never ceased to amaze Trey.

“Okay. I’ll go out with you.” She walked over to them and leaned right up against the bar, her well-rounded breasts pushing the boundaries of the neckline of her tight T-shirt. “On one condition.”

Trey had never seen Jack so flustered before in all the time he’d known him. Jack had been asking this woman out for years now and this was as close as he’d ever come to an actual yes.

Jack swallowed hard and finally wrestled his eyes up from her chest. “W-what’s that, darlin’?”

“What’s my name?” She slapped each palm flat on the bar and waited for the answer.

Jack’s mouth opened, but no sound came out. Trey paused a moment himself. She had a point. They’d been coming here a good two years now and she’d served them most times, but he’d be damned if he knew her name.

She smiled and shook her head. “Didn’t think so.” She walked away as the waitress returned to give her the cash for the drinks. Trey watched her glance at them in the reflection of the mirror behind the bar as she opened the register and made change.

“Why didn’t you remember her name?” Jack backhanded Trey’s leg. “Dang it. I was as happy as a puppy with two peters when she said she’d go out with me. I nearly shit my pants. Then she comes up with some stupid question. I didn’t think there’d be a test first.”

As Jack scowled, Trey shook his head. “It wasn’t a stupid question. She’s right. We should know after all this time. Besides the team, we probably spend more hours here with her than with anyone else in our lives and we don’t even know her name.”

Jack frowned and broke his gaze away from watching the nameless bartender. Staring right at Trey now, Jack cocked his head to one side. “What is all this tonight? First it’s ‘Don’t bother her, she’s busy’. Now it’s ‘She’s right, we should know her name’. You better not be snooping around her. Teammates don’t steal each other’s women. It’s in the code.”

Trey rolled his eyes and let out a short laugh. “First of all, I’m not snooping around, as you put it. Second, if she’s your woman, learn her damn name.”

Jack banged his bottle onto the bar. “I will.” He glanced around until his attention landed on the waitress. “Baby cakes, sashay your sweet self on over here.”

The willing waitress arrived immediately after his summons in a cloud of perfume mixed with grape gum. She had on so much makeup her eyelashes stuck together when she tried to bat them at Jack. “Hey, boys. I don’t get to hang with you two usually. You’re always sitting at the bar instead of at my tables. What can I do for you?”

Jack fielded that question while Trey took another swig of beer. He noticed that while he and Jack had been arguing the bartender had left briefly. She returned now with a rack of clean stemmed glasses. Hoisting the unwieldy item onto the bar with a clang, she started to hang the glasses one by one upside-down above the bar.

Glancing at Jack as he flirted with the waitress, she raised a brow. “Moved on already, has he? I’m heartbroken.”

Trey laughed. He considered telling her Jack was sweet talking the waitress in an attempt to find out her name. Instead, without even knowing why he did it, he extended his arm to her. “I’m Trey Williams.”

She looked down at his offered hand and then back to his face. After a moment, she wiped her fingers on a bar rag and took his in a firm, strong grasp. “Carly McAfee.”

He smiled and repeated it. “Carly.”

“Yeah, short for Charlene. Thank God my parents realized I wasn’t a Charlene pretty early on and gave me the nickname.”

“What’s wrong with the name Charlene?”

She glanced at the miniskirt-wearing waitress still talking with Jack. “I’d have to look like her to pull off a name like Charlene.” She shook her head. “No, I’m definitely a Carly.”

Trey took in her straight brown hair pulled into a ponytail to fully expose a pretty, fresh face. If she wore makeup at all, it didn’t scream to be noticed. Her girl-next-door looks sat just fine with him. The centerfold-worthy, shapely jean-clad hips, small waist and even shapelier T-shirt-covered breasts didn’t hurt either.

She was a strange cocktail of simplicity mixed with attitude, shaken with killer good looks. More importantly, he could tell there was a brain in that pretty head of hers.

Jack, leaning forward, interrupted Trey’s reverie regarding Carly’s assets. “Hey, darlin’. I want another chance at this date. Come over here and ask me your question again.”

She rolled her eyes and walked to stand in front Jack. “I’ll give you one more chance, but the question has changed.”

“Lay it on me, sweet cheeks.” Jack grinned wide.

Looking overly confident, Jack leaned back on the barstool and waited for the question. He must have gleaned quite a bit of information from his discussion with the waitress.

Carly covered her eyes with one hand. “What color are my eyes?”

Jack, who never used bad language in mixed company, silently mouthed a vile curse before venturing an obviously blind guess. “Uh, brown?”

“Wrong.” She turned, opened the beer cooler and began checking her stock of cold bottles.

Scowling, Jack cursed again quietly. “Watch my beer, will ya’? I’ve gotta go take a leak.”

Trey nodded and Jack disappeared into the bathroom.

Eyes still on Carly’s back, he whispered, “They’re green.”

She spun, those beautiful jade-colored eyes open wide and staring straight at him.

Damn, she had good ears. He’d have to remember that in the future.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Guest Post with KaLyn Cooper: Suits and Sunglasses (aka the FBI) Arrive at My Door…Again

If you’ve never had the FBI ring your doorbell, thank your lucky stars. I’ve met with them several times while being investigated and now I worry that they are going to seize my computer and flash drives, based on my Internet search history.
Yes, I have reason to worry. While writing Explosive Combination, I was researching explosives (you could have guessed that one, huh) and downloading maps of Colombia for that book. At the same time I was trying to find the best way to blow up a Cessna jet for a different book. I also had SEAL websites open and was trying to determine the ten largest cities in the U.S.A. (Getting the picture here?)
I’m sure my name pinged somewhere in the bowels of the J. Edgar Hoover Building in D.C. and they pulled up my real name and thick file. When the lowly tech looked at it, he probably laughed, counted the number of guns I own, shook his head and refiled it so he could go find a real bad guy. At least I hope that’s what happened.
Before I continue, I need to tell you a little about myself. I went to college intending to be a Navy public affairs officer upon graduation so I was in NROTC. That’s when I met my first FBI agent up close and personal. To become a military officer, you must be investigated and vetted. All I remember about that encounter was how scared I was as a seventeen-year-old from a tiny town in upstate New York and how I hoped my four, vindictive brothers wouldn’t say anything to jeopardize my chances for the secret clearance I needed.
Four years later, I was a lot smarter. The Navy had cancelled my contract as part of the post-Vietnam drawdown, I was engaged to Macho Marine and they were investigating him, not me. I smiled sweetly and answered all the agent’s questions while trying desperately not to drool. He was freaking hot. He had a face that belonged on magazine covers and a body sculpted by hours in the gym. To top it off, he was a nice guy and only a few years older than me. We joked and talked casually long after the official questioning was completed.
Fast forward through several MM promotions and at least two more FBI vetting procedures. By that time I was getting good at this whole interrogation thing.
I owned an advertising and public relations agency in southern Georgia. My business had grown through word of mouth so when a plantation owner introduced me to his Georgia Tech roommate, I thought nothing of it.
The man was from Colombia, an Olympian shooter, and was so serious about his growing import-export business. He was trying to help the people in his country by importing generators since electricity was rare and unstable if available. He exported flowers, primarily to the U.S.A.
I used these ideas in Explosive Combination. The book takes place in Colombia and my antagonist was once idealistic about changing the agricultural focus of the country.
The new client wanted me to come to Colombia and oversee the photo and video shoot for the promotional materials for his side business; an exclusive trip for high-end sportsmen that included a dove hunt, deep sea fishing and mountain stream fly fishing. I’d negotiated in a side trip to the emerald mines and a few days at a beach resort on the Caribbean Sea. Sounded like the prefect trip to me.
Macho Marine already had orders for our next move which required a higher level of security, beyond his current top secret clearance.
Enter the FBI once again.
When the cordial agent, who was obviously nearing retirement, asked us if we had plans to travel outside the U.S.A., I excitedly told him about my planned trip to Colombia. He closed his little black notebook and stood. Shaking his head, he announced, “If she goes to Colombia, you’ll never get this clearance and you’ll never be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Your career will end.”
Needless to say, I never made it to Colombia, but it’s on my bucket list.
As I researched the country for Explosive Combination, many of the sites and cities I’d planned to visit all those years ago came back to me. Although economically and politically the country is much more stabilized than it was, it’s still a dangerous place.
In Explosive Combination, ATF Special Agent Harper Tambini is kidnapped by a Colombian drug lord and forced to use her explosives knowledge to kill his competition before she can escape with the help of undercover CIA agent Rafe Silva. As they make their way through the rivers, mountains, and jungles, their desire for each other detonates. But Harper reminds Rafe of his murdered fiancée and the shadow world he wants to leave. Harper learned the hard way that men never stay, so now she doesn’t keep them around long enough to see if the sparks can light a fire that will last forever. In their short time together, can they crystallize a relationship, or will it all blow up?

Harper heard the click of her bedroom door unlocking. Knowing her role as his pretend lover, she ran to the door. “Who’s there?’

“It’s me.” Rafe strolled in as if he had the right to her room, and her.

In nothing but dark silk boxers riding low on narrow hips, he was outlined in yellow by the dim hall lights. His broad shoulders filled the doorway. As he moved toward her, light caught raised pectoral muscles and flashes of well-defined six-pack abs. His swagger defined testosterone in motion. He was a specimen of pure male confidence and dominance.

He addressed the guards at the door. “Take a break. I’ll let you know when you need to come back. I’m going to enjoy my woman for a while.” He left the door open enough for his guards to watch as he claimed Harper, yanking her into his arms and covering her mouth with his.

His kiss was heaven and sin wrapped in one hard body. And he was hard everywhere.

Rafe slipped his hands around her, and she felt their heat through the thin silk of her nightgown. Intensity built quickly within her, and she grabbed his head, shoving her fingers through his silky dark curls. He pulled her forcefully against his body, but she didn’t resist. No man had ever made her feel this way so fast.

At the click of the door, Harper tried to shove Rafe back, but his solid body didn’t move. She had to get away from him before she lost her senses, so she stepped out of his embrace.

“That should get them talking.” Her voice was roughened, but she kept it low. “The whole compound will know you were in my room by breakfast.” She walked over to the nightstand and pulled a bottle of chilled water from an ice bucket. She needed to cool down, from the inside out. She cracked the seal, chugged down half of it, and then set it on the nightstand. “I’m going to bed…and to sleep.”
KaLyn Cooper writes sizzling hot romantic suspense based in fact. Twenty-seven years as a military wife has shown her the world and the men and women who protect it every day. Thirty years in public relations taught her fact can be stranger than fiction, but leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination. She melts fact and fiction together with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense at
Separately, Harper Tambini and Rafe Silva are lethal…together, they’re explosive.

ATF Special Agent Harper Tambini is kidnapped by a Colombian drug lord and forced to use her explosives knowledge to kill his competition before she can escape with the help of undercover CIA agent Rafe Silva. As they make their way through the rivers, mountains and jungles, their desire for each other detonates. But Harper reminds Rafe of his murdered fiancée, and the shadow world he wants to leave. Harper learned the hard way that men never stay, so now she doesn’t keep them around long enough to see if the sparks can light a fire that will last forever. In their short time together, can they crystalize a relationship, or will it all blow up?
Use discount code PYQ4X6YR for 10% OFF - Only at
Twitter: @KaLynCooperbooks
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Tags: romance, romantic suspense, ATF, CIA, SEAL, U.S. Navy, Navy, military, kidnap, Explosive Combination, KaLyn Cooper
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