BOOK GIVEAWAY. Today, we have a special treat. The talented Tara Kingston is here with a special peek at her latest historical. And she'll award a copy to one lucky commenter.
I’m so glad to see you, Tara! I was lucky enough to have read the story, and I love it. Cole is a delicious hero who’s met his match in the fiery, determined Emma.
Would you tell us more about it?
My new release is a historical romance set during the Civil War, Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies. The story revolves around a Union spy who’s tasked with intercepting a senator’s daughter before she can rendezvous with the scoundrel she intends to marry. Here’s a little about Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies:
A heart's destiny cannot be denied when a daring Union spy abducts a beautiful runaway bride he suspects of being a traitor.
Emma Davenport was a model senator’s daughter: prim, proper, but hell-bent on escaping the dreaded fate of spinsterhood that awaited her under wartime Washington’s all-too watchful eye. She was going to be a bride, and no one was going to stop her. Not even the daring renegade who steals her from a train transporting her to a forbidden marriage. Her heart tells her this mysterious captor is a dangerous man, but the undeniable attraction he wields is a more potent threat than any weapon.
Major Cole Travis is a highly trained secret agent, as skilled with deception as he is with a gun. Keeping a beautiful traitor from her rendezvous with a treacherous scoundrel shouldn’t be a challenge for the battle-seasoned spy—but he’s not the only one after his tempting prisoner. Emma Davenport must be kept out of enemy hands at all costs. Drawn to this woman whose innocent allure may be just another weapon in her arsenal, Major Travis risks his neck to shield her. Soon, however, protecting her from his own heart’s desire becomes another story entirely.
It certainly does. The sparks fly when these two are together. I hated to see their story end, but very happy to learn this is the first in a series, SECRETS AND SPIES! Tell us about the next one.
I’m very excited by the upcoming release of Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies, the second in my Secrets & Spies series. In this story, Steve Dunham, a secret agent we first met in Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies, falls in love with the beautiful petticoat spy who recruits him for a very dangerous mission. Of course, the road to true love is filled with danger and conflict, but I promise a delicious happily-ever-after.
I’m really excited about the heroine in this book. Amanda’s a part of a spy ring operating out of Richmond, run by a cagy spymaster widely known as Crazy Betsy. The female spies in the story were inspired by Elizabeth Van Lew, also known as Crazy Bet, a devoted abolitionist before the war who used her eccentric persona to hide in plain sight during her efforts as a Union spy in the heart of the Confederacy. Amanda’s not a heroine who waits to be rescued. She’s strong and capable, and finds the love of her life in Steve’s arms.
And I can promise readers they’ll love this one as much as Cole and Emma’s story. Speaking of Cole and Emma, who would you cast to play them in an adaptation of your story?
In Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies, I would cast Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams, while I can really see Charlie Hunnam in the role of Steve and Emma Stone as Amanda in Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies.
I admit—I had to look up Charlie Hunnam. *Hanging my head.* But after doing so, I’ll admit it’s a great choice.
You spend so much time writing, Tara. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Oh, I have more than one…chocolate, to be sure. Romantic comedies that critics savage are another guilty pleasure of mine, and watching my favorite movies to the point where they’ve become comfort food. Romancing the Stone comes to mind.
If you could bring a fictional hero to life, which one would it be? Heathcliff? Mr. Darcy? Mr. Rochester? Tarzan? Captain Mal? One of your own heroes?
Captain Mal - I adore his rakish air, quick wit, and the fact he looks just like Nathan Fillion. Oh, and Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford - that hat…that chest…that cute little scar on his chin. Yep, I’d have to be greedy and have both of them.
What’s one thing about you that would surprise readers?
I am a huge fan of Mel Brooks and have seen Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein so many times, I can recite dialogue.
Oh, yes. Especially Young Frankenstein. There are so many wonderful lines. Loved Gene Wilder in that part! It’s on a lot of Best Comedies lists.
If you could bring a historical figure to life, who would it be?
Mary Todd Lincoln - I’d love to talk to her about her relationship with Lincoln and life through the First Lady’s eyes.
Interesting choice. What’s your favorite quotation?
“Well-behaved woman seldom make history.” Lauren Ulrich.
You’ve landed in Oz…who would you rather meet: Dorothy, the Wicked Witch, or Oz?
The Wicked Witch…I can totally relate to the Wicked Witch’s quest for justice. After all, Dorothy dropped a house on her sister and absconded with shoes that had been in the family for ages. Wicked is in the eyes of the beholder.
Which would you rather possess: flying monkeys or Toto?
Flying monkeys…they’re very handy for running errands.
What’s your all-time favorite movie?
The Wizard of Oz…you’re not surprised, are you?
Totally! Well, then, which fictional character do you most identify with?
This isn’t going to sound very much like a romantic writer, but I’ve got to be honest: Lucy Van Pelt from Charlie Brown. My hubby and I are the answer to the question: What if Charlie Brown and Lucy got married?
Do you follow sports? Favorite teams?
I love football. I’m Steelers by marriage. J
When you’re not writing, where are you most likely to be found?
Outside - hiking, biking, or just hanging out.
If you could wake up stranded on a desert island with one celebrity hunk (actor, athlete, musician, etc.), who would it be? Why?
Russell Crowe…seriously, why wouldn’t I want to be on a desert island with Russell Crowe?
I’ve loved having you here today, Tara, and I hope you’ll come back again to talk more about Pistols and Parasols. Steve and Amanda definitely deserved their very own column LOL.
But for now, give us a glimpse of Cole and Emma's intrigue.
Love to. Here's a little teaser from Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies-- in this scene, runaway bride Emma has fled her home in Washington, on her way to a rendezvous with the man she intends to marry against her father's wishes. In this scene, Emma gets her first look at the man who will soon become her hero. So, what's your first impression of Cole?
Here's the snippet:
Someone had her in his sights.
Had she been followed?
If her father had sent some lap dog to fetch her--Mr. Tucker, his ever-agreeing assistant, most likely--the beleaguered fop could tuck his tail between his legs and head home. Papa had plenty of people to order about. She’d no longer be one of them.
Drat it all, she’d simply have to confront him.
She turned on her heel. A stranger met her gaze.
Definitely not Mr. Tucker.
Long, lean, and scowling, the man eyed her with an intensity that coiled heat in her belly and threatened to strip her bare. His lips curved into a trace of an arrogant smile as if challenging her to look away.
He wore a crudely tailored shirt, unbuttoned at the throat, revealing a vee of sun-bronzed skin feathered with dark hair. Deeper in hue than the neatly-clipped strands on his head, would the curls feel silky or crisp to the touch?
She blinked away the scandalous thought. Still, her mouth went dry.
His sinewy muscles strained against the cambric of his shirt. Sunlight glinted off the manacles on his wrists.
He was a prisoner, flanked by two towering Union soldiers. Sparing one of the guards a glance brimming with defiance, he turned back to Emma. The sweep of his appreciative gaze trailed from her demure hat to the hem of her sky-blue traveling skirt. His expression penetrated her.
She felt exposed, vulnerable.
Where can everyone find you?
Readers can learn more about my books, contests, and upcoming releases by connecting online:
Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies is currently available exclusively for Kindle. Here’s a link: Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies on Kindle