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Monday, June 18, 2018

Guest Post with Author Kat Martin and Giveaway

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, Beyond Danger, hit #4 in Mass Market fiction on the Bookscan National Bestseller list.   
Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

A Little Time At The Beach

Everyone loves the beach. Though I live in Montana, I’m fortune to spend my winters at the beach in sunny California. My writing space looks out on a boat channel that leads to the harbor so I watch the tide go up and down several times a day.

A bicycle-ride away, a sandy beach slopes down to the water where a frothy tide rolls in and out, the perfect place to talk a stroll at the end of a long day or just dig your toes into the warm gritty sand.

For me, there is no better way to spend an afternoon than lying in the sun on a bright-colored beach towel, straw hat shading your face while you read a delicious, page-turning novel. The rhythmic curl and tug of the waves is the perfect backdrop, lulling me into the story, shutting out the day-to-day troubles of the world, if only for a little while.

As a writer, lying half-asleep in the sun, listening to the soft rush of the wind and the cry of seagulls, is a great way to get story ideas.

Too often I get stuck when writing a novel (I refuse to call it writer’s block, which is way too scary). The beach, I’ve discovered, is a great antidote.

While I was writing the third book in my Texas Trilogy, BEYOND CONTROL, Josh Cain and Victoria Bradford’s story, I found myself unable to figure out how the heroine was going to escape the perilous situation I had put her in. After several sleepless nights, I took a drive along the beach just a few blocks from my house.

As I looked at the clear blue ocean stretching endlessly in front of me, my whole body relaxed--a little slice of heaven. An hour away from the computer, watching the waves crash up on the shore, my creative juices started flowing. Ideas flashed in my head, some good, some not-so-good, as the next part of Josh and Tory’s story opened up in my mind.

Hurrying home, I madly began pounding on the keyboard, desperate to get my thoughts down on the page. The story started moving forward again, and I was even able to get a good night’s sleep!

So the next time you’re feeling jammed up about something, whether you’re a writer or not, whether you live at the beach or in the desert, the mountains or the city, find a place that lets you breathe, refreshes you and lets you face the world again.

Have a great summer and happy reading. Till next time, Kat

Present Danger

When Victoria Bradford got engaged, she told herself to give love a chance. Six months later, she's on the run from her angry, abusive ex-fiancé with her four-year-old daughter and nowhere to go.

Seventy miles north of Dallas, the Iron River Ranch is pretty much nowhere. That’s what its new owner, Josh Cain, wanted when he came back from Afghanistan. Big skies, quiet nights, no trouble.

One look tells Josh the pretty redhead with the adorable little girl will give him trouble of the most personal kind. But he’s seen trouble before, and he doesn't scare easy. Not when “accidents” start happening around the ranch. Not when Tory’s best friend back in Phoenix is abducted and brutalized. Not even when it looks like their current problems are only the tip of the iceberg.

But if he gets too close to fierce, determined Tory, Josh knows his nights are going to be anything but quiet. And that’s one possibility no amount of training can prepare him for . . .

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Check out the Texas Trilogy:

Chapter 5

Her eyes flashed to his. “Are you saying you might let me stay?”

“I said we’d talk about it, okay?”

Hope reared its beautiful head. She was cooking him supper. If she fixed him a good enough meal, maybe he would keep her on. She felt safe here in a way she hadn’t in weeks. Months, really.

Tory thought of Damon and hoped she wasn’t deluding herself.


He must have lost his mind. Josh couldn’t believe he was actually considering letting the woman and her little girl stay.

But he’d always had a weakness for people in trouble and he knew in his bones this woman was.

Taking out some of his frustration, he slammed the hammer against another rotting board in the cow barn, sending splinters and bits of wood flying. That same weakness had sent him to Cole Wyman’s front door when his friend Noah Beal had told him Cole was out of the marines, back in Texas, and nearly suicidal. That Cole needed something to do to help him get his life straightened out before it was too late. Noah believed a job on the ranch would be the perfect solution.

As he slammed the hammer against another piece of rotten wood, he thought of the little redhead. Every time he caught a whiff of her perfume his groin tightened. Hell, he was as bad as the horse.

He blew out a long, slow breath. She needed a job, no doubt about it, but how many nights would he lie in bed thinking about her, lusting after her sweet little body?

One thing he couldn’t do was sleep with Tory. Hell, he had no idea if she would even be interested, but the fact remained, he couldn’t have a physical relationship with one of his employees. It was bad business all around. Those kinds of situations never ended well, and he had a feeling Tory Ford would agree.

So he’d talk to her, work out some ground rules. If she still wanted a job, he’d find her something to do.

He found himself looking forward to the chicken dinner she was fixing. He wasn’t much of a cook himself, truth was he barely got by. Plus he was exhausted at the end of the day. Finding the energy to cook a meal was sometimes just too much trouble. It would be nice not to have to worry about it.

And there was the horse. The big black stallion would make the perfect stud for his mares if there was a way to tame him. Josh wasn’t willing to put the Ford woman in jeopardy, but the connection she and the horse seemed to share was definitely worth exploring.

That alone was reason enough to keep her on, at least for a while.

Knocking the last board in the stall aside, he walked over to the lumber pile and picked up one of the boards he’d already measured and cut to the right length. When he finished hammering the new board in place, he checked his watch.

The afternoon had slipped toward evening. Noah and Cole had already gone home. Another half hour and he’d be done for the day. Josh retrieved another board and started pounding in nails.

Tory finished the salad she had prepared, adding a can of mandarin oranges from the pantry to the lettuce she’d found in the fridge. Walking over to the oak table in the big open kitchen, she straightened the pretty blue-checked placemat in front of one of the high-backed oak chairs, and tugged a matching blue-checked napkin through a blue glass ring. There was a nice set of white plates she planned to use.

She wondered where the dishes and linens had come from. Even the blue-flowered dishtowels looked feminine. The living room, on the other hand, was masculine: brown leather sofas and chairs, a black and white cowhide rug in front of the fireplace, oak tables and bookshelves, a big flat screen TV.

A photo book of horses rested on the coffee table, where Ivy sat on the floor coloring. Tory had noticed books on cattle and ranching in the bookshelves.

Maybe Josh had a girlfriend who had helped him pick things out for his new home. He’d told her he wasn’t married but that didn’t mean he didn’t have a woman. A man who looked like Josh could have his pick.

Tory didn’t like the little tug of regret that thought stirred. She sighed. It really didn’t matter if Josh was involved with someone or not. She wasn’t interested in Joshua Cain and he wasn’t interested in her.

She just needed a way to make a living and a place to stay where she and Ivy would be safe. While they were there, she could formulate a plan, do some research, find a city where she could disappear and Damon Bridger would never find her.

A little voice warned she might be kidding herself. There was always a chance Damon would never give up his search, that there was nowhere she could hide where he wouldn’t find her.

But surely even a person as close to crazy as Damon had turned out to be, wouldn’t waste his entire life trying to extract revenge.

Her mind went back to the weeks after he’d attacked her in Phoenix. Damon had been arrested, but with the fancy attorney his father hired, he was out of jail in hours. She had stupidly believed beating someone nearly to death would result in at least several months in jail. Instead, he’d been sentenced to rage management, counseling, and community service.

She had never been safe from him again.

She thought of their last encounter and a faint shiver slid down her spine. How long had he stayed tied up? Had someone called the police? If so, was she wanted for a crime of some sort? Surely protecting yourself wasn’t illegal.

She sniffed as an odd smell reached her, frowned when she caught a whiff of smoke. With a shriek, she rushed toward the oven. As she opened the door, thick black smoke poured into the kitchen.

“Ohmygod, ohmygod!”

“The house is on fire, Mama!” Ivy raced in from the living room.

“It’s okay. Everything’s okay. It’s just the chicken.” Just the chicken? Ohmygod! Grabbing a set of pot holders, she pulled the carefully prepared bird out of the oven and set it down on top of the stove. She slammed the over door but it was too late. The smoke was so thick she could barely see across the room, and the outside of the bird was burnt to a black, ugly crisp.

“Eww, Mama, it looks awful.”

“This can’t be happening,” Tory said.

“Tell me that isn’t my supper.” Boots thumped on the floor as Josh walked into the kitchen.

Tory’s eyes slid closed. She should have known. The man had an uncanny sense of timing. She felt like bursting into tears.

Instead she forced herself to turn and face him. “I don’t know what happened. It’s been in there way less than an hour.”

She looked up at him, read his disappointment, and the tears she’d been fighting welled in her eyes. He was going to let her go. She’d be back on the road looking for work, looking for a safe haven for her and Ivy.

It was just too much. Her last hope had gone up in smoke, just like the chicken. A sob escaped. Then another.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Josh said. “It’s not the end of the world. It’s just a chicken.”

She wanted to say it’s the end of my world. Or at least it felt that way. Another sob escaped. She tried to salvage her dignity. “It wasn’t my fault. It was your damnable--darnable oven.”

She brushed a tear from her cheek. “I set it at three twenty five. It should have been perfect!” Then she covered her face and started crying. And she couldn’t seem to stop.

Dammit, dammit, dammit. She couldn’t do this. She just couldn’t!

A hard body stepped into her space and she felt the heat, felt Josh’s powerful arms go around her, ease her against his chest.

“Hey, it’s going to be okay. You don’t have to leave. We’ll figure something out.”

The softly spoken words finally penetrated her anguish, his voice as soothing as a summer rain. She relaxed into his strength, for several seconds just held onto him. It was stupid. It was embarrassing. She felt like a fool.

With a shaky breath, she stepped away. “I’m sorry.” She wiped the tears from her cheeks. “I don’t cry. I mean, I’m not a cryer. Not usually.”

“Only after you set a chicken on fire?”

She felt the faintest tug of a smile. “Yeah, only after that.” She was still looking at Josh when she glanced over at Ivy. The little girl crouched on the floor against the wall, completely drawn into herself, her eyes huge, her face as white as a sheet.

Tory ran to her, swept her up in her arms. “Oh, honey, it’s okay. Everything’s okay. Everybody’s fine.”

“He...he hurt you. He...he made you cry.”

“No. Josh didn’t make me cry. It was the chicken. I was crying because I ruined his supper, but he wasn’t mad, sweetheart. He was being nice.”

The little girl looked over at Josh. Two pairs of blue eyes assessed each other.

“I wouldn’t hurt you or your mother,” Josh said softly. “I’d never do that. I promise you, Ivy.”

Ivy hid her face in Tory’s neck. She gave her little girl a fierce hug, then set her back down on her feet. “I’m going to finish making dinner for Josh, then we’ll go home, okay? In the meantime, you can finish your coloring, all right?”

Ivy nodded. Turning, she took off for the living room, settled back down on the floor. Picking up a crayon, she went back to work as if nothing had happened.
Kids, God love ‘em.

“We need to have that talk,” Josh said, regaining Tory’s attention. “Somewhere private. It’s warm outside. Now would be a good time.”

“What...what about supper? I can salvage the chicken. I’ll take off the skin and make some gravy. I’ve got a nice salad to go with it, some potatoes. You’ll like it, I swear.”

“After,” he said, turned and walked outside.

Tory sighed. Damon had tried to beat her into submission, but Josh could make her jump through hoops with only a single word.

Tory didn’t like the notion.

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  • 1 copy of Beyond Reason

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