What's Up This Week
I'm back from Anaheim! So much fun, despite the freak torrential rain I seemed to have brought with me. Deepest thanks to all the readers and authors who made the weekend so fun and frank and filthy, but now it's back to winter and back to work. I'm wrapping up some Lay It Down edits this week, and also fleshing out the outline for the Desert Dogs book two, Drive It Deep. Also, my real-life friend Amy wrote a lovely Wonkomance post about what romance has meant to her as she's been dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
And let's do another snippet! Hard Time recently hit Net Galley, so here's a quick taste. (For a nice, long, juicy, 18+ sample, click here.) The hero, a convicted felon, has asked the librarian heroine to transcribe a letter for him, ostensibly for a woman on the outside:
I pulled a notebook from my bag—perfect bound, not spiral, thanks to the thrilling array of deadly implements that can apparently be fashioned from three feet of steel wire. As he handed me the pencil, our fingertips brushed for the thinnest moment—quick and hot as a static shock.
“All righty. Shoot.”
“Darling,” Collier began, only loud enough for me to hear. His gaze jumped up to pin mine. “That’s how it should start.”
Darling, I wrote. My stomach soured, and even I wasn’t deluded enough to pretend I didn’t know why. Fuck me, I was penning a love letter to his frigging…who knew what. Wife? Girlfriend? Ex? Stalkee? Fine. If this didn’t get me over my stupid infatuation, nothing would. ◇
Coming in April—Hot Felon Action!
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.) I'd been aching to write a convict romance, and somehow I convinced my editor that "sexy" and "sketchy" are not mutually exclusive. 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." It's out on April 15, and you can read the blurb and find preorder links on my Books page. And you can read a nice long excerpt, provided you're 18+.
Cosmo Red-Hot Reads—Her Best Laid Plans
Also releasing on April 15 is Her Best Laid Plans, which is part of Cosmo Red-Hot Reads, the fun new collaboration between Cosmopolitan magazine and Harlequin! My novella's about a young American woman on the rebound, who has a holiday fling with a filthy Irish bartender. The good kind of filthy! This book was great fun to write. You can check out the blurb and preorder links on my Books page.
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 August. Mass market moves so fast—I'm still revising it, yet 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.
2014 Book Ball Event in Anaheim
Attention left-coasters—I'm going to be at the inaugural Book Ball event, February 28–March 1, in Anaheim, California! Also attending will be crazy-fab authors Alice Clayton, Sylvia Day, Katy Evans, Ruthie Knox (aka Robin York), Christina Lauren, Monica Murphy, Kristen Proby, Tiffany Reisz, Andrew Shaffer, and Tara Sue Me. This first-ever Book Ball weekend will be packed full of book signings and intimate author / reader social events, and only 100 tickets are being sold, so act now if you want in!
New Blazes Full of Sweaty Men
Meg had a new series with Harlequin Blaze for 2013, all set in and around a disreputable boxing and mixed martial arts gym in Boston's Chinatown. I love writing struggling, working-class heroes, and fighters in particular, so these have been great fun for me. All three books are now available, including in audio—check them out at Audible.com or wherever you like to buy your audiobooks!
The most recent release is the third book in the series, Driving Her Wild, which is about Steph, a retiring MMA pro who gets tangled up with Patrick, a dangerously lousy electrician. (I promise he's really good at other stuff.) Romantic Times gave it their highest rating, ★★★★½! Check out details on my Books page, or add it now on Goodreads.
Book two is Taking Him Down. If you read the first installment, Making Him Sweat, you'll remember Rich, the gigantic, shameless, Colombian-American townie. Watch his life get dismantled by Lindsey, the unassuming sass-mouthed matchmaker from upstairs! Dear Author named it a Recommended Read. You can check out the blurb and excerpt and find links to order on my Books page. You can also add the book or the series on Goodreads.
Book one, Making Him Sweat, came out in March, and was just named a 2013 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award nominee. In it the heroine, Jenna, has just inherited her estranged father’s shady, unprofitable boxing gym, and arrives in Boston with plans to open an upscale, old-school matchmaking franchise in the same building. She butts heads (and other more exciting body parts) with the gym’s general manager, Mercer, a former amateur boxer turned trainer, who’s determined to convince her to give the gym a chance to bounce back, before she has to put it out of its fiscal misery. Pragmatic Bostonian commitmentphobe meets West-Coast incurable romantic. Romantic Times gave it their highest rating, ★★★★½. Check out details on my Books page, or add it on Goodreads.
My first book with Penguin / InterMix, After Hours, came out last year year. It's a full-length, standalone erotic romance set in and around a psychiatric hospital in the heart of Michigan's industrial decline—think gritty realism, not lavish escapism. I suspect that folks who enjoyed the rough sex and straight-talking hero from Willing Victim might enjoy this one. Check out an excerpt if you're intrigued, or go to my Books page for the blurb, reviews, and buy links. You can also find inside info on the book on the USA Today HEA blog, Heroes & Heartbreakers, the Badass Book Reviews blog, and Wonkomance.
New York Times bestselling author Beth Kery called After Hours "The sweet, smoking hot, standout erotic romance you’ve been craving." USA Today bestseller Victoria Dahl says, "Cara McKenna is my go-to author for gritty, hot love stories full of honest emotion." And NYT bestseller Ann Aguirre says, "After Hours is incredibly hot. Cara McKenna brings the steam."
And if you dig audiobooks and dirty stories set in Rust Belt psychiatric wards, After Hours is also available in audio, narrated by Lucy Rivers. You can learn more, order, or listen to a sample here. It's also available on Audible and iTunes, basically wherever you like to score your audiobooks.