Please help me welcoming my guest today Golden Heart finalist and debut author Jennifer Lowery who will be talking about her debut novel, Hard Core. (applause)
Hi Ella and all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! My debut book, Hard Core, released this 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!!
Ella: Thank you so much for being here today. As you know, I very rarely read romantic suspense, but I loved your book. Tell us a bit about yourself and what made you decide to start writing?
Jennifer: 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!
Ella: What drew you to write military romantic suspense?
Jennifer: When I decided to make my dream a reality ten years ago, I wrote in multiple genres trying to find my voice. I started with historical, western, paranormal, contemporary, romantic suspense, and began to notice a trend. All of my heroes were alpha males. And, they all leaned toward a military background.
After many rejections I realized that I’d been fighting my voice. I’d never imagined myself writing military romance, and hadn’t read much of it either. But, once I found that voice, I couldn’t be stopped. I inhaled military books, both fiction and non-fiction. I joined military loops on the internet, I found military blogs, and I fell in love with my writing all over again.
Ella: Your debut novel Hard Core just came out. Congratulations! That’s huge. You wrote for a long time before you got the call, what changed.
Jennifer: I found a critique group and a critique partner! Changed my life. Best thing I ever did was join an online crit group. I’ve made the best friends a person could have! There is more support, and laughs, and joy and pain than I ever imagined! It’s more than a critique group. We are friends. We vent, we laugh, we crit, we promote, we support, we encourage. It’s more of a family and I’m honored to be part of it. I encourage every writer to find a critique group, not only for your writing, but for the support. It’s nice to connect with other writers who are experiencing the same things you are. Especially since writing is such a solitary career.
Ella: Jennifer, thank you for joining me.
Jennifer: Thank you for having me today, Ella!! 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!
All my best,
Without further to do, here is the blurb and excerpt for Hard Core by Jennifer Lowery
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.
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.
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