Friday, April 20, 2018

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Poison Pen” by Val Tobin


Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Val Tobin, and an excerpt from her Romantic Suspense, “Poison Pen.”

Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn't that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.—Marilyn Monroe

Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy. Never underestimate that.—Oliver Stone.

When their colleague is murdered, three wanna-be authors can't help meddling in the investigation, which puts them on the killer’s radar. Robin refuses to leave the house, Daphne has OCD, and Beth falls asleep at the most inopportune moments. Yet all three find themselves caught in a cat-and-mouse game where anything can happen and no one is safe.

Will they help catch a killer or learn that writing can be murder?

Detective Jacob Turner is a modern-day Columbo in search of a clever killer. Instinct tells him something doesn’t add up. Then, the case becomes personal and the hunt is on...

 

First Kiss Excerpt

“Beer?” Daphne led Ian into the kitchen.

They’d stayed in tonight, and he hadn’t dropped by until after dinner in order to finish correcting physics tests. She’d counted the minutes until his arrival, partly because she was eager to see him but also because she hated being alone here.
“Sure.”
Ian accepted the beer she passed him, and she poured herself a glass of wine. “Want to watch a movie?”
“Sounds fine.” He grinned. “Two hardcore partiers, eh?”
Daphne laughed. “I have to work at six tomorrow morning. This is as hearty as I’ll party.”
He took her hand as they walked into the family room. Her heart melted at the sweet gesture. Ian was a sweet man. He’d hate knowing she thought that about him, but it was the truth.
They snuggled together on the couch, his arm around her shoulder. Barely a minute into the movie they’d selected, she turned her face up to him. With one hand, she stroked his cheek.
Ian let out a low growl. “Are you trying to start something here?”
Daphne giggled. “Want me to start something?”
“Answering a question with a question. Nice.” He nuzzled her neck with his nose.
Instead of replying, she hooked a hand around his neck and dragged him down. She pressed her lips to his, inviting him to taste her. Not normally aggressive, she couldn’t seem to control herself this time.
Warren had been the aggressive one, in charge, taking what he wanted when he wanted. She’d been compliant, a willing recipient for whatever he offered. With Ian, she made the demand, and he not only accepted, he made demands of his own.
For a moment, they wrestled for control, and then they both capitulated, one to the other. They forgot everything else—the movie, their drinks, the brutal reality of Leon’s death—and focused only on each other. Daphne had never experienced such passion, such emotion, as she did now with this man…

“Poison Pen” is available on Amazon for pre-order at the introductory price of $2.99 until May 5, 2018. After the release date, the price will be the regular low price of $3.99. It will also be available for the first ninety days through KU/KOLL:


Poison Pen is a stand-alone novel and part of the About Three Authors series, which includes Whoever Said Love Was Easy? by Patti Roberts and Stolen Hearts & Muddy Pawprints by Georgina Ramsey.



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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Meet the Characters – An Interview with Nancy from “Appetite for Desire” by Kenzie Michaels


Today I’m hosting romance author, Kenzie Michaels. Following is her interview with a character from one of her books.

I decided to do something different today. Normally when launching a new book, it’s customary to interview the main characters, but since this book has been out for some time now, it is time to interview someone else. Back in 2012, my alter-ego was brave enough to sit down with Nancy, former assistant manager/dining room hostess at the country club in my book, “Appetite For Desire,” which was published first in 2011, then republished in 2016. Enjoy!

Thanks Kenzie:)
Hello Nancy.  How are you today?

A little pissed off.  I’ve been out of work for nearly a year now, and was just issued a summons this morning.  I’m being sued.  SUED!  By one of my most loyal customers.  (dabs heavily made up eyes)  Do you know how hard it is to find work in this lousy economy? (sniff)

Who’s suing you?  And for what?

Oh, don’t pretend you don’t know.  Mr. James Sr, one of our most affluent members of the country club, makes more money per minute than I do in a week.  So I didn’t feel he’d mind sharing some of his wealth.  And mind you, it was only a teensy part of his income, and I did share it with one of our best waitresses.  We were only about a month away from our goal when Lily came down with a bad case of bronchitis and Mr. James’ son came back to town.  If only we hadn’t been so short-staffed that night….I let one of our new girls, Courtney, take the job, and the idiot grabbed the wrong clipboard.  I had everything arranged, but she took the real invoice and the whole scheme unraveled when the son got nosy.  All because his dad suddenly wanted only Courtney to be his server.  Hmph!

You do understand that’s a crime-

Oh good lord….don’t sit there and pretend you wouldn’t skim a couple of bucks from people’s account if you had the chance.

Actually, no, I wouldn’t.

I thought you were unemployed.

I’m self-employed; and right now, my royalties are increasing at a nice rate.  But this isn’t about me; it’s about you.  I’m giving you a chance to explain yourself.

You’re not here to judge?  I thought this was a deposition.

No; I’m interviewing you for anyone out there who wants to understand you a little better.  What made you decide to ‘skim money’ from a client’s account?

It was very simple.  I have a child entering college next year, and my deadbeat ex-husband was supposed to foot the bill.  But he was downsized out of a job and had to dip into our son’s savings in order to maintain his lifestyle while he looked for another job.  I did some calculating and realized some of our patrons don’t check their bills closely; they just pay whatever amount we send.  I tried several patrons before settling on Mr. James, and had a set amount I was aiming for.  As I said, one more week would have met our goal, and I’d slowly ‘wean’ him from the extra payments, so things wouldn’t look suspicious.  I did NOT count on his son looking into his accounts.

I imagine you’re pretty resentful of both Courtney and Dustin.

I misjudged Courtney; she’s smarter than she looks.  No, the one I’m the most furious with is Dustin James.  How dare he go snooping through his father’s accounts and asking questions about the monthly bills the past year?  Why couldn’t he just chalk it up to inflation or something?  I’m also upset with Lily.  If she’d not gotten sick in the first place, none of this would have happened.

People can’t control when they’re going to be ill, Nancy.

In my business, you take the over-the-counter medications.  Wait staff should only go to the doctor during golf season when they’re bleeding, spiking an ungodly high fever, or unable to talk.  Get sick on your days off or in the winter time.  Not during our busy season!  That’s what Tylenol is for.

So you feel the end justifies the means?  Is that what you’re saying?

Hell yes.  Didn’t you ever hear of Robin Hood?  He stole from the rich and gave to the poor.  I wasn’t trying to bankrupt anyone; I had a set amount I needed, and then I was going to stop.  And when the ex got back to work, I was going to slowly replace the funds, saying an audit had taken place, or a clerical error had occurred.

Is this your first offense, or have you faced charges before?

(sniffs) This is the first.

That you’ve committed a crime, or been caught?

(Looks around and leans forward, lowering voice)  This is just between you and me, right?  I-

Excuse the interruption, Nancy, but before you reply, I just want to make you aware that other people will read this.

(Sits up)  Oh…I see.  Well, this is the first time I’ve ever been charged.

So you’ve done this before, just never been caught.

Who do you think you are, Jack McCoy from Law and Order?

(holds up hands)  I’m just trying to get at the facts, ma’am.

Okay; now you sound like Joe Friday from Dragnet.  And you call yourself a writer?  What’s next, a Perry Mason reference?

(rolls eyes and mentally counts to ten)  Let me get this straight.  You feel you’re justified in what you did; you’re sorry you were caught; and you’re angry with the circumstances which led to your being fired.  Do you feel that rules only apply to certain people?

I don’t understand the question.  Rules are rules.

But do you feel some are meant to be broken, or that everyone breaks a rule from time to time?

(fidgets in chair and examines scarlet fingernails)  When you put it that way….yes, I suppose I feel some rules don’t apply to some of us.  After all, I am-WAS- the supervisor.  I’m authorized to determine which rules can be bent in certain circumstances.

So you feel entitled to take whatever you want.  Does it concern you that readers won’t like you?

Not at all.  The only other thing which upsets me is Kenzie called my voice a ‘nasal whine’.  I do NOT sound like that.

(Yes, she does)  Do you plan to appear in any of Kenzie’s other books?

I certainly hope NOT!  (sits up and glares)  She’s caused enough trouble for me.  Unless…..

Unless?

(smiles and leans forward) Do you think she’d be willing to set me up with a nice, handsome, single lawyer?  I don’t really need a younger man; just someone who’s in his late 50’s or early 60’s.  Someone with experience, if you get my meaning.  Someone who’s, ah, been missing something from his life lately.  (winks)

(sigh)  I can certainly ask her if she’d be willing to do that.  But no promises.  Her writing is sort of on the back burner at the moment.

(pats my hand)  You tell her to do it or I’ll come back and haunt her until she writes it.

Thank you for sitting down with me today.  Nancy-did Kenzie not give you a last name?-is Courtney’s supervisor at the country club in Kenzie Michaels’ Appetite For Desire, available now at Amazon, in Kindle Unlimited.

A Scene With Nancy:
“Courtney! Where is she? Courtney Bright!” Nancy’s nasal voice was an octave higher than normal as she stormed through the swinging door of the club’s kitchen. “Courtney!”

“I’m here; what’s the problem?” Courtney backed out of the walk-in, balancing bowls of coleslaw and potato salad. Oh God…she found out I was eating again…

Nancy waved the invoice under the girl’s nose. “You call this accurate?” She screeched. “Where do you think we buy our food, the local farmer’s market? You didn’t charge him nearly enough!”

Courtney set the salad bowls on the stainless steel counter and checked the invoice. “But…that’s what Becky told me when she hired me. The prices are listed on the clipboard.” She went to the wall and found the one she’d used the night before. Flipping to the back, she ran her finger down and showed it to her manager. “See?”

“Well I never,” Nancy huffed, beginning to calm down. “I’ll have to check the rest of the receipts. There’s been a mistake somewhere. And I’m going to find it!” She spun on her high heels and left the kitchen.

Do you have anything else you’d like to add Nancy?

I’d like to state my last name is Nicholson*; I’m 42 years old**; my beautiful blonde hair is natural***, and I’m considered quite a catch, if you believe some of the gentlemen who flirted with me before I was fired.  Anyone who is on my side and who’d like to hire me can contact me through Kenzie’s website….(knock at the door and an officer pokes his head inside the room)…What the hell is wrong now?

Sorry to interrupt Molly, but Nancy was supposed to be back home now.  Her free time is up.

Not a problem; we were just finishing up.  Nancy, I’ll pass along your message and thank you again for your time.

I didn’t know that damn ankle bracelet would warn you if I was a few minutes late!  Hands off me; I’ll go by myself.  (Stands and exits the room)

Officer?  I didn’t realize she had an ankle bracelet.

Yes; it’s part of her plea agreement.   She has to wear it for two more months.  (tips his hat)

Sigh….just goes to show sometimes you don’t get the whole story!

*Nicholson:  Her maiden name
**42 yrs:  Actual age, 53.
***She is definitely NOT a ‘natural’ blonde….or at least not in the past twenty years.

And anyone who still wants to hire Nancy, please be assured your note will be placed in the circular file.

Blurb
Dustin James is shocked to learn the sexy blonde he met two days earlier is none other than his father’s caterer who also works at the country club he’s recently joined. When he can’t keep his hands off of her, is lust for her sexy body all he wants, or is it love?

Courtney Bright defied the rules by admitting her attraction to the new customer at the country club. But when she realizes her feelings aren’t just sexual, will she take a chance on love, or is her job more important?

Appetite for Desire” is available through:


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Friday, April 13, 2018

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Claiming the Highlander” by Mageela Troche


Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Mageela Troche, and an excerpt from her Historical Romance, “Claiming the Highlander: A Medieval Scottish Romance.”

First came marriage...will love come next? 

As children, stoic Caelan MacKenzie married feisty Brenna Grant for a parcel of land and an Earldom. Then the child bride and groom went their separation ways.

Years later, Caelan is the feared Viking Highlander, a great warrior. His father lies on his death bed and now Caelan must return home to take his place as the Chief of Clan MacKenzie. Time has come for him to face his past and the secret he has carried. Some believe him unworthy to lead.

All but his wife—Brenna knows the true man that he is from the letters they had been exchanging since childhood. Now at Castle MacKenzie  anticipates her husband's return.  Brenna must use her influence to protect the Grant clan or have her life destroy. And that she refuses to happen.

From the Scottish Highland shores to the rugged glens, the alpha male and his brave heroine must battle against outside forces to save their wedded life even as they succumb to their sensual desire.

Can they save all they hold dear including their growing love? Or will they be defeat and betrayed?


First Kiss Excerpt:

   “My mount is here.” The white horse, dusted with shades of gray, tossed his head. His long mane flipped about. The beast was a Spanish horse, with a thick chest to match his teeth, and hooves that must have trampled many a foot soldier.
   She aimed glances at the beast. She stayed a safe distance from its wide head. Caelan swung up with ease. He clasped her forearm. She grasped his arm, not wanting to have her own yanked from her body. He lifted her and plopped her across his firm legs. She raised her gaze from the hard ground to his chin. Short, blond hair covered his blunt chin and softened the hardness of his face. His breath breezed through her hair. She forced herself to look upward. His bright blue eyes locked on her. Something stirred inside her, a mixture of passion and fear. Not fear of him—never would she fear Caelan. Nay, it was an uneasiness of what lay ahead. She had been schooled on how to be a wife, yet before her husband, she was unsure of how to be the wife to Caelan.
   He tucked his forefinger under her chin, lifting her face closer to his lips. Through her parted mouth, she drew in a sharp breath. Her lips began to tingle. The corners of his eyes pinched. She waited for his mouth to touch her own. He brushed his thumb across her lips.
   “Hold tight, Brenna.” His voice lowered to a caressing tone.
   Unsure if he spoke of waiting for a kiss or if to hold onto him, she gripped his forearm. She pressed closer against him until their bodies melded against each other. He was so deliciously warm. Her nose filled with a vibrant blend of salty air, crisp greenery, a hint of smoke, and the evening air. She turned her face toward him for a better sample of his fragrance. She promised herself to remember this night. After all, this night was the beginning of her marriage. It would be a great marriage, as she planned.
   The castle bridge appeared too quickly for her and before she got over her disappointment, they had arrived in the courtyard. She pried her hands away from him. His solid support was gone and her arms felt empty. The truth was, she didn’t want to let him go. He might leave her again. Foolish thought—aye since with the circumstances facing him he would never leave these lands.
   His large hands grasped her by the waist. A quick tightening and she was in the air, and then on her feet. That was it? She glared at her husband. Caelan stared down at her. His black pupils intensified the blue of his eyes. The color wasn’t what captured her attention. It was the softening of them. The corners of his eyes lost their hawk-like intensity. He swung down.
   This was her moment. She braced her hands on his chest and kissed him. His lips were malleable, like the softest feather bed. His heat cloaked about her. He still hadn’t touched her, yet nothing felt chaste about this caress. He tasted of the fiery uisge beatha, the flavor dizzying her as if she drank a cupful. He had kissed her before. Not like this…not as a wife and a woman.
   The kiss broke. She sucked in choppy breaths. He ran his thumb over her trembling lower lip. The corners of his mouth twitched. He grabbed the reins and headed into the stable.
   She smiled into the darkness before she followed him. Either Caelan was a fast worker or she had stayed outside longer than she thought, but he was wiping down the Spanish mount. The large beast stood there as Caelan rubbed the cloth over the flanks. His other hand trailed over the same path as the other. The gentle, caring motion mesmerized her. These were the hands that had cut down men, wielded a sword the same height as Brenna. Yet, they were as gentle as that of a mother cradling her bairn.
   When he touched her…her lashes fell and a little sound came from the back of her throat. Hopefully, he’d be more interested in her than the horse. Like the laundry girl and the stable boy she caught behind the brewery. They had been grunting, moaning. She couldn’t wait to do that with Caelan. After all, she had been a bride for too long, and time called for her to be a wife.
   He led his mount to the stall. Let’s feed you. You need some substance.”
   “Do you speak to me or the horse? I have plenty of substance; however, you cannot see it under all this plaid.”
   He tilted his head as he ran his gaze over her. The slow, heated appraisal set her afire. Little tremors quaked through her. She straightened, not one part of her body wishing to be neglected under his regard. A half-smile tugged at his lips. He palmed her hip. His gaze returned to hers. It felt like a slam to the heart.
   “Let’s get you fed so we can add to your substance.”

“Claiming the Highlander” is available through:


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Meet the Characters – An Interview with Kim Anh from “Love In The Boondocks” by Adam Mann


Author’s Note: The word Boondocks originated as military slang used by American soldiers engaging guerrillas in the Philippines before World War II, from Tagalog bundok, mountain, from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *bunduk, elevated ground. The word has since been used by many others to denote a remote and wild area in any country.

Dave is working for a development project with farmer families in remote and distant areas, often mountainous. Very few people speak English, and he works with several translators. He comes across several primary school teachers who are working in villages in those areas, and one who does speak good English asks him for help with transport to one of the distant villages, and then inadvertently invites herself for accommodation overnight in Dave’s small village house.
Kim Anh comes from a family of teachers, and unfortunately is just recovering from a failed marriage, so meeting Dave is quite fortuitous and she instinctively cleans and tidies Dave’s kitchen and bedroom.

Kim’s departure to her new village is delayed as her transport is not available, until after the forthcoming luni-solar holidays, and she stays another day in Dave’s house. The weather grows colder and Dave kindly offers her warmer sleeping facilities!

Kim had found Dave an attractive man when she first met him, but Dave found all young ladies beautiful, until Kim began to blossom under Dave’s care.

Initial contact turns to passion and passion to deep love!

Everything works out well until Kim’s co-teacher turns up with a baby, a non-husband, and big problems!

Today we’re talking to Kim Anh from “Love In The Boondocks,” a Contemporary Romance by Adam Mann. Let’s get started. I’m sure our readers are eager to learn more about you.


What is your best memory to date?
Since I met Dave there have been so many happy memories, but probably the best was the first two evenings he allowed me to stay in his cottage.  I knew that Dave was kind but I didn’t want kindness, then I needed acceptance and then I wanted love.

What was your first impression of Dave?
It was really by accident!  The second night I stayed in his cottage it was really cold but Dave only had one duvet, and some old army blankets, which we shared and it was only in the morning that we found ourselves lying close together clothed.

What would you most like to forget? 
My first husband.  As a young girl I thought he was attractive, but he treated me with disdain, and only showed an interest when my salary was paid into my bank.

Are you close to family?
Oh yes, I am the eldest daughter, and my mother and I have a good understanding without having to talk.

Do you see morality as black-and-white, or with shades of gray?
I knew it was immoral to stay in Dave’s cottage, and a lot of people would talk and gossip, but then as our relationship changed to passion and then love and respect, I just didn’t care.

Do you care about what others assume about you?
That’s a bit late now.  Dave never formally asked me to marry him he just bought me an engagement ring which he gave to me in front of many people, and as we live together many people assume we are married.

If you could make any one thing happen, what would it be?
I know that I want to start a family soon, but not too soon.

If there is one place in the world you could go, where would it be?
I would eventually like to live in, or close to, a big city with more adequate shops and even supermarkets.  Dave and I have talked about a holiday in Singapore or Hong Kong.

What is your most prized possession?
My engagement ring.  Not for the value or money, but what it means.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Oh definitely a morning person, which Dave understands and reacts to.

What kinds of things do you always carry in your purse?
My mobile phone, which has now evolved into an iPhone.


“Love In The Boondocks” is available through:


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Friday, April 6, 2018

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Lies and Solace” by Jana Richards


Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Jana Richards, and an excerpt from her Contemporary Romance, “Lies and Solace – Book 1, Love at Solace Lake series.”


She can’t live with one more lie. He can’t tell the truth.

Harper Lindquist is convinced she’s found the answer to her financial prayers. Unless she pours cash into crumbling Solace Lake Lodge, she’ll lose her family’s legacy. Her would-be savior arrives in the middle of a Minnesota blizzard and she’s determined to prove to her reluctant, and trapped, financier the lodge is a sound investment. But Harper isn’t completely honest with him. And she has no idea the lake is hiding secrets of its own.

Ethan James is a liar, but his money is very real. He isn’t convinced a broken-down inn is a smart investment opportunity. But the more he understands Harper’s dreams and desires, the more he wants to be the man to make them come true. The trauma in both their pasts means neither can fully trust the other. They must find the courage to love, to trust, and to accept, or yesterday’s sorrows will keep them apart.

First Kiss Excerpt
She’d just placed the last dish on the drain board when Ethan entered the kitchen, his hair still damp from his shower. He’d shaved with the razor she’d found for him and was wearing his own clothes again. Once more the elegant, well-dressed businessman. The chasm grew between them even as he stood in her kitchen. She was stupid to believe there could ever be anything aside from business between them.
She lifted her chin, determined not to let her façade slip. “I’ve gathered all my estimates and drawings and put them in a bag so you can take them with you.”
“I appreciate that.”
They walked together to the front door, and Harper lifted his beautiful overcoat from the coat tree. It still held the scent of his after-shave, and she had to resist the urge to raise it to her nose and breathe it in. Instead, she held it out to him with a forced smile. “Have a safe trip back to Minneapolis, Ethan.”
“Thanks.” He took the coat from her and slipped it on. “I want to thank you for your hospitality.”
“It was my pleasure.”
So formal. But it was the only way she could get through the next few minutes.
He picked up the cloth bag with all her information on the renovation project. “Goodbye, Harper. I’ll be in touch soon.”
“Goodbye.” She shook his outstretched hand briefly.
He opened the front door and headed toward his truck. Harper grabbed a sweater from the coat tree and stood in the open doorway watching him leave, not quite able to shut the door on him despite the biting cold.
Halfway to the truck, Ethan stopped. For a second, he stood completely still, his head bowed. Then he dropped the bag, turned on his heel, and walked back to her, his steps full of purpose.
“Did you forget something?”
“Yeah.”
He pulled her into his arms, his mouth descending on hers with an urgency that set her blood on fire. She moaned as she molded herself against him, her arms winding around his neck, her fingers tangling in his damp hair. He swept her mouth with his tongue, demanding a response. She gave herself over to his kiss, loving the sweet taste of his mouth, the clean smell of his skin, the solid feel of his body.
All too soon he broke the kiss. He grasped her shoulders and pushed away from her, breathing hard. She searched his face for answers.
“I have to go,” he said. “I’ll call you soon.”
She nodded, unable to speak. He released her and walked back to his truck. No longer sheltered in his arms, the bitter cold swept through her. She pulled her sweater more securely around her shoulders.
Harper watched Ethan pull out of the driveway, her heart racing. When she could no longer see his truck, she closed the front door and leaned against it. The taste of him remained on her tongue and she could still smell his clean scent. Excitement and fear danced up and down her spine, fighting a duel inside her to decide which one ruled supreme.
Fear won. In one way or another, everyone she’d ever cared about had left her. She couldn’t bear for Ethan to be one more person on that list.

“Lies and Solace” is available through:
Lies and Solace is FREE from April 27, 28 & 29


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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Meet the Characters – An Interview with Nate Kincaid from “My Sexy Veterinarian” by Bonnie Phelps


5 Stars: ‘I found it to be masterfully crafted, with thought, care, insight, and attention to detail—poetic prose that touch the heart and echo on the soul, full of deep emotion, abundant in pain and loss and, best of all, overflowing in joy and love.’

Nate Kincaid, wants to get out of debt and get his family off his back about his relationship status. The second means he needs a serious girlfriend, but after the death of his fiancé, he isn’t ready. No one knows about his nightmares—the ones that chase him into the dark places of grief. Dealing with debt means his fledgling veterinary practice must be successful—business before anything else. Always. Maybe a pretend relationship would solve his second problem so he can concentrate on the first. 

Full-time psychologist and part-time model, Lauren Royall, has the perfect life. As a therapist she helps people. As a model, her free spirit reigns. When Nate suggests she pose as his girlfriend, she accepts on a lark. Lauren senses his pain and wants to help. She hadn’t counted on falling for the guy or the painful memories from her past his situation evokes.

Today we’re talking to Nate Kincaid from “My Sexy Veterinarian: The Texas Kincaids Book 2,” an Contemporary Romance by Bonnie Phelps. Let’s get started. I’m sure our readers are eager to learn more about you.

How old are you?
I’m 35. Old enough now that I should be established. Instead I’m still building my business and don’t have a wife and children. Feels more like I’m fresh out of college.

What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
I’m a stand-up guy, a regular ‘Mr. Do The Right Thing.’ Traditional, I suppose. In Texas you’re taught to tip your hat and hold a door open for a lady, help elderly people cross the street, and look out for your neighbors.

How about after they've known you for a while?
Because I look like a night club bouncer, people are surprised I’m a sensitive guy. Don’t tell anyone, but I write poetry.

What is your profession?
I’m a large animal veterinarian which means a lot of time outdoors.

Tell me about your best friend.
That’d be my brothers, Zach and Josh. The two are different as night and day. Zach’s a National Rodeo Champion in Team Roping—the life of the party—and Josh is a computer engineer—so quiet he gets lost in a crowd. They’ve got a lot in common though—loyal, tough, and not afraid to call me out if I do something stupid.

Describe your ideal mate.
Kind, compassionate, loves kids, not afraid to get her hands dirty. Someone who wants to build a home. A woman who wants to make a difference in this world.

What's the most important thing in your life?
Family.

Your thoughts on love?
So far I haven’t had much luck in that department. My fiancé died about 6 months before we planned to be married. Not sure my heart can take anymore hurt.

Your greatest extravagance?
Starting my own veterinary practice. Everyone said I should have joined an existing outfit, but I wanted to be my own boss. It was a risk and makes life challenging, but I’m glad I did.

Is there anything you havent done that you want to do?
Find the right woman and settle down.

Your quirky habits?
You could say I’m a neatnik. I like order in my life.

What quality do you like most in a woman?
Someone who’s grounded.

What trait do you most despise?
That would be high-maintenance women, followed by no sense of roots.

What are you most afraid of?
Losing the one I love. Been there, done that. Can’t do it again.

Favorite food
I’m a meat and potatoes guy, though Lauren is teaching me to expand my horizons.

What would you consider your perfect night out?
Sitting on my back patio gazing up at the stars. The kind of evening where the serenity pours in to a man’s soul. Close second, taking my favorite girl out dancing. Holding her in my arms. Moving together to the music.

What was your first thought or impression when you met the person you fell in love with?
Lauren? Gorgeous. Independent. Kind of new-agey. Adventurous. Not my usual type, but there was something about her that pulled me in.

What would you change about the person you fell in love with?
At first I thought I’d want more of a homebody, someone I could count on to stay put. Once I got to know her though, I wouldn’t change a thing because if I did, she wouldn’t be the woman I fell in love with. She’s the things I was looking for—compassionate, loves kids, wants to make a difference—but the things I thought I didn’t want—adventurous, loves to see the world—have opened me up to new experiences. She makes me a more complete person.

What would you change about yourself?
We both had some demons to slay. Mine is learning to embrace love again. With Lauren’s help, I’ve gotten there.


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