I’d like to welcome my friend KaLyn Cooper to the LL&L blog. KaLyn and I met at Lori Foster’s Reader and Author Get-Together over two years ago. She pitched an idea for a story to me and then later sent me the first draft. I, being the nit-picky, demon editor from Hell (just ask those whom I’ve edited), sent it back to her with many comments and suggestions. She rewrote … then rewrote … then rewrote again and here it is — due out tomorrow from Liquid Silver Books. May I just say SQUEE? — and congratulations to KaLyn on her first published book.
Now here’s KaLyn to tell us how Explosive Combination came about.
Suits and Sunglasses (aka the FBI) Arrive at My Door…Again
Thank you, Monette, for asking me to guest blog on the eve of a very special day for me. It seems appropriate that you are my first blog (ever) since you’ve been my first for so many things related to romance publishing. You were the first to read and edit this book before it became Explosive Combination, you were the first to show true interest in it as a publishing house rep, and you were the first to tell me it was good enough to get published. I can’t thank you enough for all your help!
If you’ve never had the FBI ring your doorbell, thank your lucky stars. I’ve met with them several times while being investigated for various career moves (mine and my husband’s), and now I worry that they are going to seize my computer and flash drives, based on my Internet search history. I wonder if they can block me from the Cloud and Drop Box I use for back up?
Yes, I have reason to worry. While writing Explosive Combination, which releases tomorrow, I was researching explosives (you could have guessed that one, huh) and downloading maps of Colombia for the book. At the same time, I was trying to find the best way to blow up a Cessna jet for a different book. I also had SEAL websites open and was trying to determine the ten largest cities in the U.S.A. (Getting the picture here?)
I’m sure my name pinged somewhere in the bowels of the J. Edgar Hoover Building in D.C. and they pulled up my real name and files. Yes, there is more than one. When the lowly tech looked at it, he probably laughed, counted the number of guns I own, shook his head, and refiled it so he could go find a real bad guy. At least I hope that’s what happened.
Before I continue, I need to tell you a little about myself. When I was a teenager and the Vietnam War was raging, I wanted to be a Navy sniper. Raised on a farm in upstate New York, I’d shot a gun since age eight, and I was damn good at it. I picked Navy because my Dad had been a Navy man and we lived on a lake. So I competed for a Navy ROTC scholarship because I was headed to college. No one bothered to tell me, least of all the smarmy recruiter, that officers were never snipers and there were no women snipers in any service at that time.
That’s when I met my first FBI agent up close and personal. To become a military officer, you must be investigated and vetted. All I remember about that encounter was how scared I was and how I hoped my vindictive brothers wouldn’t say anything to jeopardize my chances for the secret clearance I needed.
Four years later, I was a lot smarter. The Navy had cancelled my contract as part of the post-Vietnam draw-down, I was engaged to Macho Marine, and they were investigating him, not me. I smiled sweetly and answered all the agent’s questions while trying desperately not to drool. He was freaking hot. He had a face that belonged on magazine covers and a body sculpted by hours in the gym. To top it off, he was a nice guy. We joked and talked casually long after the official questioning was completed.
Fast forward through several MM promotions and at least two more FBI vetting procedures.
We were in Albany, Georgia, and I owned an advertising and public relations agency. Several owners of commercial quail hunting plantations were clients as well as friends. My business had grown through word of mouth so when a plantation owner introduced me to his Georgia Tech roommate, I thought nothing of it.
The man was from Colombia, an Olympian shooter, and sounded so serious about his growing import-export business. He was trying to help the people in his country by importing generators since electricity was rare and unstable if available. He exported flowers primarily to the U.S.A., but also around the world.
I used these ideas in Explosive Combination. The book takes place in Colombia, and my antagonist was once idealistic about changing the agricultural focus of the country.
The new client wanted me to come to Colombia and oversee the photo and video shoot for the promotional materials for his side business: an exclusive tour for high-end sportsmen that included a dove hunt, deep sea fishing, and mountain stream fly fishing. I’d negotiated in a side trip to the emerald mines and a few days at a beach resort on the Caribbean Sea. Sounded like the prefect trip to me.
Macho Marine already had orders for our next move. He was headed to Command and Staff College at Marine Corps Base Quantico, which required a higher level of security, beyond his current top secret clearance.
Enter the FBI once again.
When the cordial agent, who was obviously nearing retirement, asked us if we had plans to travel outside the U.S.A., I excitedly told him about my planned trip to Colombia. He closed his little black notebook and stood. Shaking his head, he announced, “If she goes to Colombia, you’ll never get this clearance and you’ll never be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Your career will end.”
Needless to say I didn’t go, but my videographer still went with pages of shooting instructions. Everything worked out well for the client, and Macho Marine got promoted.
I’ve never made it to Colombia, but it’s on my bucket list.
As I researched the country for Explosive Combination, many of the sites and cities I’d planned to visit all those years ago came back to me. Although economically and politically, the country is much more stabilized than it was, it’s still a dangerous place.
In Explosive Combination, ATF Special Agent Harper Tambini is kidnapped by a Colombian drug lord and forced to use her explosives knowledge to kill his competition before she can escape with the help of undercover CIA agent Rafe Silva. As they make their way through the rivers, mountains, and jungles, their desire for each other detonates. But Harper reminds Rafe of his murdered fiancee and the shadow world he wants to leave.
Harper learned the hard way that men never stay, so now she doesn’t keep them around long enough to see if the sparks can light a fire that will last forever. In their short time together, can they crystallize a relationship, or will it all blow up?
Rafe stood on Harper’s balcony and watched her sleep. He’d slipped undetected over the railing from his rooms next door. Christ, the Deputy Director of the CIA was involved. Rafe was responsible for Harper’s safety and he vowed he’d die before he’d allow anything or anyone to hurt her.
Harper stirred. He crept to the bed and bent to shake her shoulder to awaken her.
She grabbed his arm and flipped him onto the bed face down, arms locked behind his back. She held a steak knife to his throat. His legs splayed, and her knee nudged his crotch.
“Harper,” he choked out in English, “I’m CIA. I’m one of the good guys. Let me up.”
She held her position. “You’re very high ranking in this organization to be CIA. How long have you been under cover?” She kept her face close to his and spoke in undertones.
Good. She wasn’t going to immediately blow his cover. “I started at the top. Narváez and I were college roommates. Now can you get off me?”
His heart beat rapidly for what seemed to take forever. The cold steel at his throat didn’t quiver. He heard her sigh and the pressure of her leg at his crotch ease. She finally removed the knife from his throat and slid off his back.
“I’d hoped someone was inside, but I didn’t think it was you.” She moved quickly away from him and braced herself on her knees, the knife still held in fighting position.
Rafe rolled onto his back and sat up. He rubbed where the blade had pressed, thankful not to feel any blood on his neck. “You’re good. I never saw you steal that from the supper table.” He glanced at the satisfied look on her face.
“Yes, I am good. The hardest part was to find some place under that dress that it wouldn’t imprint. The last thing I wanted was Narváez to strip-search me at the supper table.” She shuddered.
He fluffed a pillow and leaned against the headboard as he stretched out his legs that had gotten a nice little workout in the past two hours. The climb up the mountain wasn’t strenuous, but a gain of a thousand feet over two miles wasn’t a stroll on the beach. It was his crotch, not his burning thighs, that he wanted to rub. But he was too much a Southern gentleman to make such a crude move.
Win a free copy of Explosive Combination.
Comment here and you’re automatically entered. Several ways to win. The more you enter, the greater your chances. Winner will be chosen at random on March 15th.
Join me and comment while I blog with:
Monette Michaels Romantic Imperative on March 3rd.
Rosanna Leo at http://rosannaleo.blogspot.com/ on March 4th.
Daisy Banks on March 5th at http://daisybanks.wordpress.com/.
About the Author:
KaLyn Cooper writes sizzling hot romantic suspense based in fact. Twenty-seven years as a military wife has shown her the world and the men and women who protect it every day. Thirty years in public relations taught her fact can be stranger than fiction, but she leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination. She melds fact and fiction together with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense at www.KaLynCooper.com.
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Explosive Combination will be available March 3rd from Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, iTunes and where eBooks are sold.