Hi Melissa and all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! My debut book, Hard Core, released last month so I’m very excited to be here! Thank you so much for sharing it with me!!
In honor of my release I am offering a copy of my debut contemporary suspense, Hard Core, in either ebook format or signed print copy to one lucky commenter so please leave me a comment with your EMAIL and gift choice to be entered to win!!
Well you heard that, folks. Be sure to comment with your email for a chance to win. :) So I'll start by asking you to tell the readers a bit about yourself.
I’m a wife of twenty years to a fabulous man and mother of three teenagers! We live in a small town in Michigan and love it. My son is in college, my daughter in high school and youngest daughter in middle school.
When and how did you get into writing? What inspires you to write?
I can’t remember wanting to be anything except a writer! I grew up devouring books, lol. Even got caught in the seventh grade reading a romance book in the back of my math book! I detoured along the way, went to college, got a degree in Respiratory Care, and worked in a hospital as a Respiratory Therapist for 13 years before the time felt right to pursue my career as a writer—my dream. So, I quit my job, thanks to my wonderful hubby who supported us on his income, and began writing full-time. It took me 10 years to become published (I wrote during my years at the hospital) and 3 years once I began writing full-time to sign a contract! So if you have a dream, don’t give up!! No matter how long it takes you to get there, don’t give up! Dreams really do come true! Make it happen!
Sounds like awesome words to live by! Now how did you come up with the idea for Hard Core?
Actually, the hero, Cristian, wouldn’t let me rest, lol! He demanded his story be told so I gave in and let him have his way. I’m so glad I did!
So what are you currently working on? Can we expect anymore books about any of Cristian’s “guy pals” from Hard Core? Any chance I might see a book about Mercer, at some point? Just saying. :) I like those silent, watchful types. *Le Sigh*
You are going to be so happy to hear this! I’m working on Mercer’s story as we speak!
Flip yeah, dude! I'll be waiting for that one. :) Can you share one of your favorite excerpts from Hard Core? And why is it your favorite?
Actually, the one I use for my blogs is my favorite. I love the dynamics between Cristian and Alana. He’s stubborn, but he’s met his match with her! I love her spunk and how she handles him.
Prepared to start an IV, she picked up a needle. She had it in position when his other arm shot out and he clamped her wrist in a bone-crushing grip. Startled, she met his panicked gaze.
“I said no needles.”
Her heart banged against her ribcage as she let the needle slip out of her hand. It hit the floor with a small ting. Alana opened her hands in surrender, her patient’s fingers digging into her flesh. For a man half-dead, he had amazing strength.
“Okay,” she said to placate him. “Relax, I don’t have it anymore. It’s your choice, but I recommend you let me start an IV for meds.”
“No. Just fix me.”
Alana pinned him with a no nonsense stare. “I’m not impressed with Superman heroics.”
Face pale and drawn, he said gruffly, “I’m not Superman. Learned not to trust people with needles.”
Her fingers were going numb. “If I remove the bullet without pain medication or anesthetic, you’re going to be sorry.”
He studied her. “You’re really a doctor?”
Alana bristled. “Technically, yes.”
She didn’t have time to explain herself with the amount of blood seeping from his gunshot wound. “I went to med school. You can let go of my arm now. I won’t use any needles.”
He looked down and immediately released his grip. She rubbed her wrist to soothe away the ache. “Can I get to work now, or do you want to question me more about my credentials while you bleed to death? I don’t have a blood bank, so you’re screwed if you lose too much.”
Her blunt statement received a curt nod. She normally didn’t talk to her patients like that. Her patients didn’t normally countermand her either.
“Do it,” he said.
“I don’t need them. Just get it over with.”
Stubborn, stupid, or both? Insane, yes, but there wasn’t time to argue with him.
“Okay. The offer stands if you change your mind.”
She doubted that, but didn’t comment. Instead, wiped her forehead with her forearm, and picked up gauze pads to clean the wound.
“Here goes,” she warned and dabbed his skin.
Her patient didn’t move or even wince as she cleaned the angry wound. Either he had a will of steel or he’d passed out again. Hopefully, the latter. Sweat rolled down her back as she finished cleansing the area around the bullet entry. Red flesh puckered with the first signs of infection. In this environment infection was guaranteed.
With a steady hand that would have made her father proud, she picked up her instruments and took a deep breath.
“You still with me?”
He murmured a response, turning his head slightly so he could see her. The stark beauty of his profile, despite the bruises, struck her again. The lines of his face were chiseled, unforgiving. The kind of man she’d glance at twice if she passed him on the street.
A man associated with a criminal.
“Still here, Doc. What are you waiting for?” Husky with pain, his deep voice brought her out of her thoughts.
She gave herself a mental shake. “Want something to bite down on?”
A small, wry smile touched his lips and his lids closed. “You won’t hear a peep out of me. Just fix me, Doc.”
“I can hit you so you’ll sleep through it,” she muttered.
That drew a low chuckle from him. She didn’t expect him to have a sense of humor. He seemed too…hard. His chuckle turned into a grunt of pain. “You probably hit like a girl.”
Alana grinned. “Yes, I do. Rest assured it won’t feel like it.”
“Appreciate the offer, but, no.” His words slurred together, his muscles tense as he fought his body’s demands.
“You got a name, Superman?”
His head rolled to the side, his chest rose and fell slowly. She thought he was out but he murmured, “Cristian.”
“Nice to meet you, Cristian.”
Then she dug into the wound for the bullet.
Ha, what a great introduction to each other. So, I have to ask. I’ve read a few reviews where readers felt Cristian was a bit cold and unemotional. Personally, that worked for me since he was a mercenary after all. It was his job to be cold and detached. How did you think up the character of Cristian? And how did you decide which attributes to instill in him as your hero?
Ah, yes. Good question. Cristian came to me that way. I knew him before I starting writing him. The title Hard Core was meant for him. It is Cristian. He is a Hard Core mercenary. I actually had to soften his edges a little as I wrote him, much to his annoyance. He suffered many tragedies in his life and they hardened him. Everyone deals with tragedy differently. Cristian closed himself off. Hardened his heart. It’s who he is. I had to write him the way he is. I’m sorry if people found that off putting, but I write my characters as they are, not who I think they should be. My characters are very real to me. They react to their past, their present, and grow and change. I only hope I do mine justice. :)
Great answer, Jennifer. And I like Cristian's cold, detached manner. It does make him more realistic. So what sort of research did you do for Hard Core? I’m always interested about that with Military Romances because I know flip all about weapons. :)
The research is so much fun! I actually have a special forces contact that answers all my questions for me! He’s awesome!! And I inhale military books, both fiction and nonfiction. Documentaries. Love it. I think if I were dropped in the jungle I’d be able to survive for at least a week, lol!
Hmm perhaps I should get one of these 'special forces contacts'. :) What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done in your life?
I’m an introvert who lives vicariously through her characters! I went clubbing in Mexico with a couple of my girlfriends on my senior class trip (we were supposed to be in our hotel room). That’s about as dangerous as my life has gotten, lol.
Ha, yes, well nothing too dangerous on my end either. At least not situations I've put myself in at any rate. Do you think you have what it takes to be cut out for life as a mercenary?
Hmmm…I don’t think so. Different circumstances, maybe. But, with my family and friends and career, no, I don’t think it would fit my lifestyle.
Lol, mine either. Do you know self-defense, in the event some baddie wants to take your kidney? Personally, I like to think of myself as a “ball buster”. Just putting that out there.
You know, I don’t know self-defense, but I just joined a gym that has MMA (I’m a huge UFC fan) and am considering MMA training. Not cage-fighting, but just training. How cool would that be? Got to get in shape first though :)
Ha! Awesome. I want to thank you for stopping by today, Jennifer. It was a pleasure to get to know you a bit better. As you know, I'll be waiting for Mercer's book. :)
Thank you for having me today, Melissa!! I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldn’t be here. My wish is to one day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support!
Author Bio: Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer. Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side.
Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers. She loves everything there is about romance. Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines. She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.
Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.
Be sure to visit Jennifer at: Website
Blurb: He takes lives. She saves them.
A supposedly hassle-free job for mercenary Cristian Slade becomes a mission of mercy when he saves a life instead of taking one. Slade's new mission might be his most dangerous yet, because the danger is to his heart.
Tragedy has sent esteemed surgeon Alana O'Grady to a remote a remote Nicaraguan island where she immerses herself in the lives of a native American tribe, using her talents for goodwill instead of wealth and prestige. But life turns upside down when her work requires she protect a rugged mercenary who commands her attention when she's awake and dominates her dreams while she sleeps.
Doctoring Cristian puts her entire tribe in danger from the man who's hunting him. Is it her professional oath or her unprofessional attraction to him keeping her from sending him away to heal on his own? Alana's fire warms Cristian's heart, but he's a hardened assassin and has no business falling for someone like her. Can they fight hard enough to keep what they might have together?
Content Warning: Sexual content.
Review: So I waited for this book's release for a while. And once I picked up my copy and read it, I have to say I honestly really enjoyed it.
While I read some reviews that some readers didn't care for Cristian's cold, detached demeanor, it worked for me. Mainly because that's precisely what his character was supposed to be. An unemotional mercenary focused on getting the job done, despite injuries and attractive doctors in the jungle. I mean, it's not like he's popping over for a cup of tea, is it?
Cristian's character felt more natural and realistic to real life in my opinion. He's not sappy and rarely do you see him acting sappy in the book, if any. But, like I said, it worked for me. Coupled with Alana's nurturing nature, I like these two characters paired together. Even the "intimate" scenes were good, too. I don't have to have super steamy bedroom scenes to make or break a book for me. As long as the story is engrossing and sucks me in, then I'm a happy camper. As was much the case with Hard Core.
In my opinion, the story was well written and grabbed my attention from the very start. I ended up reading it in one sitting and was satisfied when it did come to a close. I immediately felt like I wanted to learn more about some of the secondary characters. *cough* Mercer. And lo and behold, I will get to read his book soon.
All in all, I thought it was a great "special ops" romance. And I look forward to reading more about Cristian's team mates.