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What's Up This Week?
I'm currently up to my elbows in Give It All revisions—that's the second book in my new Desert Dogs series, the first of which, Lay It Down, is out in just a couple weeks. Once I hand in these revisions, I get to dive back into the first of those three ménages I'll be writing for Penguin. This first story, tentatively titled A Perfect Stranger, is the one with the cuckolding kink I've been so excited about writing. Should be super dirty. I need to get my head out of the badlands, though—after working on back-to-back Desert Dogs books, it's hard to quit thinking about those characters.
And speaking of Desert Dogs stuff, Lay It Down is starting to get early reviews! I read a lovely one on Publishers Weekly, saying, "McKenna ratchets up sexual chemistry and danger in equal measure, and tension stays high to the end. Readers will eagerly turn pages to learn the outcome of both the mystery and the romance." Woo hoo! And Romantic Times gave it their highest star rating, and said, "McKenna opens her Desert Dogs series on the perfect note, presenting readers with a story that is sizzling, intelligent and completely absorbing. She burrows under each character's skin…and her well-executed badlands setting reflects her biker gang perfectly: gritty, rugged, dangerous, but noble and utterly captivating. A series to watch." So maybe give it a shot, when it releases in both ebook and mass market paperback, on August 5! Preorder links can found on my Books page.
So, Harlequin invited me to be a part of their Online Reads offerings, and my story, When In Rome is live! The current theme for the freebies is "International Tycoons," which, if you've read me, probably sounds like a really bonkers match. But I love a challenge! My story may or may not involve a reclusive Danish crab fisherman cum unwitting billionaire. The format's unusual—10,000-word story, divided into twenty bite-sized chapters and serialized daily. If impatience means serials aren't your bag, no worries—all twenty episodes are now up, so gorge away!
Out Now—Her Best Laid Plans
Hot off the digital presses! Her Best Laid Plans is part of Cosmo Red-Hot Reads, the fun new collaboration between Cosmopolitan magazine and Harlequin! It's a fun, flirty novella about a young American woman on the rebound, who has a holiday fling with a filthy Irish bartender. The good kind of filthy! You can check out the blurb and buy links on my Books page.
Out Now—Hard Time
The convict book! It's finally out! As most of my wonderful and unnaturally attractive readers know, for my third book with Penguin / InterMix, I finally got to write a dirty romance about an incarcerated felon! (And yes, he was guilty of his crime. And yes, it was bad.) It's called Hard Time, and it's full of filthy love letters and Very Bad Ideas, set in the same declining Michigan city as the after-hours parts of After Hours (but no twee cameos, I promise.) #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks called it "gritty and compelling." You can read the blurb and find buy links on my Books page. Not sold yet? You can also read a nice long excerpt here, provided you're 18+. Or here's a quick teaser, one of the first letters the convict hero writes to the librarian heroine:
His writing was as stiff and mindful as a grade schooler’s, peppered with dark patches where he’d scribbled words out to fix or replace them.
I took another deep drink, sweat breaking out under my arms and between my breasts.
You probably read lots of books. With way better words in them than I could ever write. I don’t know how to make the stuff in my head sound good. But I’ll try.
You don’t know me. I don’t know you either. You’re probably one of those girls who needs to respect a guy before you feel something for him. Where I come from people don’t think that way. We all just drink and fuck and call it love for however long it lasts. But I want you to think I’m better than that. To be someone you could maybe respect. Crazy as that sounds. So I need you to know I didn’t hurt a woman to get locked up. I wouldn’t ever hurt a woman.
Anyhow. I don’t know you. You seem real nice and it was good how you cared enough to get me this machine. You’d probably do that for anybody who needed it but I think it’s real nice all the same. You’re pretty too. I meant what I said when I got you to write that letter. All those things. I haven’t been with a woman since I got locked up. That’s a long time. Saying those things is the closest I’ve felt to sex in five years. But I don’t want to say things you don’t want to hear. Maybe I got a chance to say about you wearing red next Friday. I’ve got lots of things I want to say to you and way more personal stuff than this. Saying it feels good. Like I’m a man again in a way you don’t get to feel on the inside. So wear red next week and I’ll tell you some of what I think about. If you don’t I’ll leave you alone.
PS If you’ve got a man already I apologize. I don’t mean any disrespect to him. If you tell him about this tell him I said he’s real lucky.
I refolded the page and set it before me, pulse pounding everywhere. In my feet and temples and throat, heart thumping against my ribs and echoing between my legs. All the places that tell your body run, and all the places that tell your body fuck. ◇
Hand Wraps Galore!
Hot damn, Harlequin has re-released the Wilinski's books—my 2013 Blaze series set in a disreputable Boston boxing and MMA gym—with new covers and titles, all available now! Making Him Sweat is now All Or Nothing, Taking Him Down is Going the Distance, and Driving Her Wild is Takedown. Check them sweaty torsos!
New Sale! Three-Ways, Times Three!
Hey, new sale! Penguin has made an offer on a three-book proposal I pitched for their InterMix imprint (the same one I wrote After Hours, Unbound, and Hard Time for.) The books will be standalone erotic novels, linked by theme—they're all going to be about threesomes! It's like ménage à trois, à trois! What I know for sure is that the first story will feature a cuckolding kink, but no word on release dates or anything official like that. Stay tuned.
New Deal—Mass Market Series for Signet Eclipse
Too exciting! I've sold the first two books of what I hope will be a four-book mass market series to Signet Eclipse! It's a contemporary romance series, called The Desert Dogs—very gritty and grimy and a bit dark, a bit larger-than-life, set in the Southwest and centered around a scrappy group of vigilante cowboy-bikers. Whatever you're imagining, that's probably about right. Bar fights and badlands and hard-drinking, trash-talking men (and women) with neck tattoos and so forth. The first book, Lay It Down, is set to release in early August. New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton says, "Like a smooth shot of whiskey after a dry desert ride, Lay It Down quenched my thirst for wicked hot romance. Cara McKenna knows how to write sexy-as-hell bad boys." It's already up for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with many more vendors coming soon. Find the blurb and buy links on my Books page. Really excited about this one!
Making Him Sweat Makes the Cut
Making Him Sweat, the first book in Meg's Wilinski's series, has been named a 2013 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award nominee, in the Best Harlequin Blaze category. Thanks, RT! You can read their original review here and also check out the full list of 2013 nominees here.
Unbound Is Out
My second book with Penguin / InterMix, Unbound, is now available! This full-length, standalone contemporary erotic romance is set in the Scottish Highlands, and is best known on Twitter as "the hot-mess hermit." You can read the actual blurb on my Books page. It's verra kinky. You can read an excerpt here. You can also find buy-links on my Books page, add it on Goodreads, or look for it wherever fine ebooks are sold! It's also available as an audiobook, narrated by Lucy Rivers.