By Robin Kaye
How Would You Like A Copy of Wild Thing Under Your Tree?
I walked into Humpin’ Hannah’s—my favorite bar in Boise and scanned the room. My eyes landed on Hunter Kincaid, tall, dark, handsome, and quiet—he might as well have had a do-not-disturb sign tattooed on his forehead. It was a good thing I rarely follow directions. I strode over to him and took the stool beside his. “Hi, Hunter.”
He turned toward me, “Hi. Do I know you?”
“No, but I know you. How’s it going?”
He gave me that patented confused look most of my characters wear the first time I meet them in person. He had no clue as to who I was, and from the looks flying across his face, I could tell he considered yet decided against being rude and ignoring me. “Good. How ‘bout you?” He waved over the bartender who was also his sister. “Karma, get my friend here a drink, will you?”
Karma’s eyebrow rose. “Friend?” She pushed her blonde, curly hair off her shoulders and gave me a once-over.
“Robin Kaye,” I said as I set my purse on the stool beside me.
“The writer?” Karma rubbed her hands together before giving mine a hearty shake. “It’s great to meet you in person. I had such a good time talking to you over the phone.”
Hunter looked even more nervous now—smart boy. “You two know each other?”
Karma turned, pulled a bottle of Macallan 18—the world’s best single malt scotch—off the top shelf and poured me a drink, adding my requisite two ice cubes. “Oh yeah, we’re old friends. Right Robin?”
“Right.” I gave Hunter an encouraging smile. “I came all the way from Maryland to Boise just to talk to you. You see, I’ve written a book about you and Toni, and I thought it would be fun to interview you for my friends at the Casablanca Author’s Blog.”
He took a long pull off his beer and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “You wrote a book about me and Toni?”
I nodded. “A romance.”
“Does Toni know about this?”
I spied Karma on her iPhone. “If she didn’t before, she does now. I’ll bet you a Jackson that Karma is on the phone to her right now and—” I checked my watch, “she’ll be here inside a half hour to join us. Toni’s up on Castle Rock, right?”
“Yeah, she is. But how do you know that?”
I shrugged. “I have my sources.”
“So this book you wrote—”
His eyes got huge and he tossed back the rest of his beer before sliding the empty mug down the bar for a refill. “What exactly did you write about?”
“Everything.” I pulled the book from my bag and admired his picture on the cover before passing it to him. “Here’s a copy for you.”
“The cover—it’s baby blue and pink.”
“What do you expect? The target audience is women—it’s a romance. You look great though. It’s a wonderful shot of you. The Action Model photographers did me a favor and caught you unawares. They were nice enough to send the jpeg to my publisher.”
“Yeah, that was real nice of them.” The scowl on his face belied his words. Good thing the photographers were all safely back in New York and away from the fury flashing in Hunter’s eyes. “Damn, I knew they were doing more than just checking the light.”
“Live and learn, but your loss is definitely my gain. All the readers love the cover. They say you look hot.”
Karma busted out laughing and Hunter shot her a look. “I’ll deal with you later.” He opened the book and scanned the first page. “Oh my God. You were there? How do you know what I was thinking?”
“Come on, Hunter. It was written all over your gorgeous face.”
His gorgeous face got in mine. “What am I thinking now?”
I laughed and patted his hard chest. “I know you, Hunter, probably better than you know yourself. I’m not afraid of you, so just simmer down. It was all done…tastefully.”
He thumbed through to the first sex scene and his eyes just about bugged out of his too good-looking face.
“Don’t worry, I made sure you looked good. Not that I had to. Let’s face it. You have skills. I spent most of the intimate scenes in Toni’s point of view, and you know what she thinks about your performance.”
He blushed and laughed at the same time. “Okay, I guess I have no choice but to trust you.”
“Especially since it’s for sale in print and every e-book format available—”
Karma lined up a full beer end of the bar—looking very much like a pro bowler eyeing a 7 – 10 split. She slid the beer down the length of the bar and it came to a stop just before hitting Hunter’s open hand. The foam didn’t even slosh over the side. I let out a whistle. “Wow, she’s good.”
“Hey, I’m not the only one in the Kincaid family with skills.” He raised the mug to his lips and chugged half.
“Don’t I know it, and it’s a good thing. I have two more books to write about the Kincaids.”
“Really?” Now he was all ears, “Who’s next?”
“Promise to keep it under your hat?”
“Scout’s honor.” His eyes brightened and he shot me his crooked smile.
I had to hand it to him; the man had charm. “You were never a boy scout, but I’ll tell you anyway. Fisher is next on my list.”
Hunter shook his head. “Fisher has never had a long-term relationship, but then Trapper’s never had one last more than 72-hours, so I guess Fisher’s a better bet than Trapper.”
“That’s what I figured. But I have a contract for Trapper’s book too, so wish me luck.”
“Yeah, you’ll need more than luck if you’re going to write a romance about Trapper, unless you’re going for a very short story. Then there’s plenty of material—no happily ever afters though, I’m afraid.”
The door slammed open and Toni stepped in. Tall with jet-black shoulder-length hair, she wore a skull-and-crossbones sweatshirt, ripped jeans, and thick-soled combat boots. Toni’s gaze collided with Hunter’s and it was as if me and every other breathing soul in the bar disappeared. Damn, so much for my interview. The two of them get so wrapped up in each other, interviewing them now would to be a complete waste of time.
Sorry about that—but I’ll give you a sneak-peak of Wild Thing… I hope it wets your appetite. Enjoy!
Excerpt from Chapter One
Toni Russo stood on the porch of the Sawtooth Inn ignoring the mountains cutting the bright blue sky, concentrating instead on Hunter Kincaid’s very confused, very green eyes. She recognized him from the photos on the River Runners’ website. They didn’t do him justice, probably because there was no way to transmit the pheromones rolling off the man onto an image.
Hunter stared at her the whole way from his old Land Cruiser to the porch. He stopped, tipped his baseball cap back, and then put his hands on his hips. “You’re not who I expected to see.”
Well, no. “Yeah, I guess you’ll have to learn to live with the disappointment. I know I have.”
“Toni?” A look of relief flashed across his face then a smile ticked up the right side of his mouth as he made a slow perusal of her from head to feet and back again.
She waited, knowing it would take awhile. Ever since she’d landed in Boise, she’d experienced the same thing. No one quite knew what to make of her. Holding her clipboard to her chest, she wondered if it would have been better to have spent her time in Boise shopping for less interesting clothes. She mentally shook her head and knew it would never have worked. You could put her in a sack, and she’d do something to stand out. She’d long since given up trying to rein herself in. As Catherine Aird said, “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” So far, it had worked for her.
Blowing her bangs out of her eyes, Toni looked down at her outfit. The short, red plaid kilt wasn’t too offensive. She pulled her clipboard away to see she had on her Stay Away T-shirt. Maybe he had something against the collage of pistols, brass knuckles, knives, and bullets. But really, he didn’t look like a pacifist, not that she wasn’t—it was a T-shirt for goodness sake, not a personal manifesto. The kitty-face Mary Janes and red skull-and-crossbones knee-socks were a bit busy. Okay, Hunter’s thirty seconds were up. She fingered the D-ring on the studded collar around her neck and cleared her throat. “Do you mind?”
Hunter took a sip of whatever was in the travel cup he held. “Not at all—just wondering if you were going for that naughty-schoolgirl-fantasy look.”
“No, I was going for my not-quite-sure-what-to-wear-for-a-meeting-with-Davy-Crocket look. How’s it working for you?”
Hunter’s mouth worked its way into a full smile. Great teeth. She had a thing for nice teeth, and yeah, his mouth was full of them.
“Really well, thanks. Over the phone, it sounded as if you wouldn’t be caught dead out here. When Bianca came to scout for photo shoot locations, she said something about you having a phobia. What changed your mind?”
Toni took in the rustic porch wrapping around the log cabin lodge and decided to sit on a rocking chair. There was nothing else to sit on except the steps, and they needed a good sweeping. “You asked Bianca about me?”
Hunter leaned against the rough-hewn post holding up the corner of the porch. “I didn’t know it was a federal offense.”
“Bianca was involved in negotiating a big deal so she sent me.” Toni placed her clipboard on her lap and clicked her pen a few times in rapid succession. “I had no choice.”
Hunter’s big hiking boots filled her line of sight. Her gaze wandered up to where neatly rolled, rag-wool socks met hard, tanned calf muscle with just the right splattering of leg hair—not so much you’d be tempted to take a brush to it, and not so little you’d wonder if he routinely waxed. He wore khaki shorts low around the hips, his green River Runners T-shirt pulled tight against his chest and abs. She’d seen him without a shirt thanks to the picture on the website, so she knew if she poked him it would feel like poking a brick wall. She’d bet dollars to doughnuts he didn’t get that hard body in a gym.
When her eyes hit his stubbled chin, she encountered another full-toothed grin. Damn, she hadn’t meant to be so obvious.
The slap of an old-fashioned screen door broke the tension. “Sorry.” James, Bianca’s right-hand man, appeared with two cups of coffee. He handed Toni hers. “That’s decaf. Maybe you’ll be able to sleep tonight.”
Hunter felt bad about running out on the interview so he's offered to answer any questions you may have (within reason). Two lucky commenters will win a copy of Wild Thing so ask away! And be sure to write out your email address so I can let you know if you're a winner!