A few years ago I stumbled upon No Worries, the first book in the McCassey Brothers series. I think it was probably the title that caught my eye, it’s such a common Aussie saying. Naturally, because I love a series, I had to read them all followed by the four McCassey Cousins books. I quickly fell in love with these bad boy heroes. These books have everything I like in a story including a touch of sport 😉 They are contemporary, romantic suspense stories starring blue collar workers dealing with real life problems – no billionaires in sight. Some touch on dark and gritty subjects but above all they are wonderful love stories, the hero willing to risk it all for his woman. The women in this series are just as willing to sacrifice all to protect the family. I remember I sent Lauren a fan letter saying how much I enjoyed reading her books, which she tells me she still has. So I’m very excited to welcome Lauren to sit On the Bench, for an author interview and to showcase her wonderful McCasseys.
Lauren has generously offered to give away a PDF copy of No Worries and Reckless Bounty. Leave a comment below for a chance to win.
Inspired to write by her overactive imagination, Lauren Sharman was voted BEST ROMANCE AUTHOR in the 2006 Preditor’s and Editor’s Readers Poll. Her favorite part of writing romantic suspense is creating characters; giving them pasts and stories and reasons for doing what they do. She’s especially proud of the tough, hardworking, wildly protective ‘good men in bad boy clothing’ who make up the heroes in her award-winning books.
Lauren Sharman is On the Bench
Author Interview Questions.
What was the first book you had published? The first book I had published was a mainstream fiction back in 2006 called, Growing Up Little. The story takes place in Baltimore, Maryland, and is told by 16-year-old Nikki. She was abandoned by her abusive parents, and ‘raised’ by her older brother, Jake. He took care of her and taught her what he knew, which sometimes wasn’t what someone her age should’ve been learning. It’s out of print now, but there are still copies floating around out there.
What was your initial reaction when offered that first contract? When I saw the email with a contract offer from Whiskey Creek Press, I had to reread it to make sure I’d read it right! My husband actually saw it first, and showed it to me. I was in the middle of a critique group meeting at my house, so I was lucky enough to share the good news in person with my critique partners. I was so happy I literally jumped up and down!
Of the books you have written is there one that holds a special place in your heart and why? I’m going to cheat and say there are two books. The first one is Growing Up Little. Not only because it’s the first book I ever wrote, but because a lot of the, um, ‘adventures’ Jake and Nikki have and the trouble they get into are loosely based on things that actually happened. The other book is No Worries (The McCassey Brothers: Book 1)…the story that introduced the world to Rebel McCassey and his wild, badass brothers and cousins. There are 8 books in the series that I spent almost 8 years writing. I thought and talked about the characters every day for so long they still feel real to me. But every author feels that way about their characters, don’t they??!?
Are you a disciplined writer or do you have to wait for the muse to arrive? Do you have a ritual that gets you in the mood? I’m actually a very disciplined writer. I prefer to write in peace and quiet, so on my off days when I’m home alone, I make myself coffee, get comfortable in my favorite writing spot, and settle in to work. No music, no TV, nothing. If my family’s home and I want to write, I go in another room and close the door. But…I’ve also been known to sit in the living room while they’re here and wear ear plugs. Believe it or not, my favorite time to write is late at night. For some reason, that’s my most creative part of the day! I don’t really have a ritual to get myself in the mood to write. Most of the time, the mood just strikes me. Music has always been very inspiring for me, and sometimes I’ll hear a song that makes me think of something in the story I’m working on and my muse takes off running.
What was the last book you read? The last book I read was Renegade Reject by Emily Minton and Dawn Martens. I love a hot alpha male…
What are you working on now? I just finished Bad Intentions, the romantic suspense sequel to Reckless Bounty. The tentative release date for the book is November 2014. I’ve already started something new. The title of the book is Storm Rider…and that’s about all I can share right now J
What genre would you like to try and write that is different from your own? Funny you should ask… With the exception of my first book, I’ve always written romantic suspense. There’s just something about a good punch-throwing, bullet-flying, boy-rescues-girl scene that makes the writer in me proud to be who I am. That being said, I love history and the thought of things being haunted, so if I was going to try something a little different, it would still be romantic suspense…with a little paranormal thrown in.
When you receive edits are you Teary and Disillusioned or Feisty and Focussed? My critique partners and I have a ‘brutal honestly’ policy. If my story has issues, I want to know about it. After all, if they don’t like something in the book, chances are, my readers won’t, either. I like when they’re hard on me. On the flipside, I’ve gone toe to toe with editors a time or two, fighting for something in my story they’ve wanted to change. If I was passionate enough about the idea to put it in the book, there’s a reason it’s there, and I want it to stay. I’m always open to suggestions, though, and I’ve worked with some great editors over the years.
What is one thing in your books you’d like to try? Wow, this is a tough one. I actually tried a little something new in Bad Intentions (which I can’t give away…sorry!), but it’s a nice little twist readers won’t be expecting. Even my critique partners were like, whoa!
Now for some hard hitters with an Aussie flavour!
A sport /sportsperson that you watch? (C’mon there must be one) OR An embarrassing sporting memory. I’m a huge NFL football fan. Clay Matthews is my favorite player. If you haven’t heard of him or seen his picture, do a Google search. He is most definitely book-hero material! I’m also a big baseball fan. Baltimore Orioles all the way!! My daughter plays fastpitch softball, which I actually incorporated into a few of the McCassey books. *D – Oh! I see 😉
Favourite Aussie Author/Actor /Musician? Oh boy. I’m going to totally cheat here and say there’s this pretty cool Aussie author, Donna Gallagher… *D 🙂
Your view on Vegemite? I’ve never had it. It sounds interesting, though. *D I will have to hook you up with some…what about Tim Tams? Have you had them?
Formal dinner party or backyard barbeque? Backyard BBQ. Throw in a bonfire and cool, crisp, fall air, and I’ve got myself the perfect night.
Adventure holiday or relaxing by the pool? Adventure…I’m not really a lounging in the sun, hang out by the pool kind of girl.
Favourite Aussie holiday place or one you’ve always wanted to visit? Oh, this one’s easy! My best friend moved to Melbourne a couple years ago. I have an open invitation to come visit, and would love to go see her someday.
Witnessing her mother’s murder put a label on Gypsy Lance that few people overlooked. Raised in foster homes, she spent her childhood yearning for love and acceptance. Nearly penniless, she arrives in Hagerstown, Maryland looking to put down roots and outrun a past she fears is about to catch up to her…
Blue collar bad boy Rebel McCassey knows what it’s like to try and escape your past. No longer the hellion he once was, he’s never been able to shake his family’s bad reputation. When he finds Gypsy lost in the woods, her unconditional trust and refusal to judge him by his infamous last name touch Rebel in a place he didn’t know existed…his heart.
When the demons chasing Gypsy are caught lurking in the shadows, Rebel vows to keep her safe; even if it means slipping back into his old ways…
“Oh, Rebel, I’m sorry.”
Rebel sat down on his bed and lit a cigarette. “Don’t be. We all knew his abuse was going to kill her. It just wound up happening sooner than later.” He pointed to his father. “He got himself shot trying to cheat his partner out of money they made selling moonshine.”
Rebel paused and gave his head a slight shake. “My father was a brutal man. He beat me and my brothers senseless when we were kids for doing nothing more than looking at him the wrong way. I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, but I never once hurt someone who didn’t deserve it.” He gestured toward the picture again. “I look at that every day and promise myself I’ll never turn out like either one of them.”
Gypsy suddenly understood why Rebel had gotten so upset when she told him the story of her father threatening to kill her. His compassion made him that much more attractive, and before she could think about what she was doing, she stood in front of him, bent down, and kissed his lips.
* * * *
Giving him a kiss was the last thing Rebel expected her to do when she heard that story. He thought maybe she’d cry, or be so scared she didn’t want anything to do with him and his family. But he definitely hadn’t expected to be kissed.
He had a hard time controlling himself when he felt the touch of her soft, wet lips on his. Still holding a cigarette low between his index and middle fingers, Rebel put his arm around the back of her neck and drew her closer. Opening his mouth, he deepened their kiss as Gypsy wrapped her arms around his waist and pressed her body against his. She returned the kiss with more passion than Rebel was ready to handle, and he found himself needing to pull away before things went too far.
“Did I do something wrong?” she asked.
He cleared his throat and took a long drag on his Marlboro. “No, Gypsy, darlin’, you did everything right. That’s why I stopped.”
When she turned her back to him, he was afraid he’d made her self conscious. Rebel stood up and turned her around, pulling her over to the bed. They both sat down. “There’s nothing wrong with what you did, Gypsy. And I like you. I like you way too much for only knowing you a couple of days. You make me feel things I’ve never felt for a woman. Protective, mostly. I feel like I want to lock you away up here so nothing bad ever happens to you. That’s why I said ‘no worries’ to you this morning. My family members say that to each other when we want someone to know they’re being watched out for…”
For thirteen years, bounty hunter Kage Garmin has made it a point to avoid female fugitives. He wasn’t going after this one, either; but couldn’t resist taking a look at the girl worth a million dollars.
She smiled at him, and he fell in love…
Kage knew from then on, she would be his.
He also knew who was after her and why. In order to save her, he has to convince her to go the one place she’s trying to avoid.
Hiding in plain sight served Journey well…until a handsome bounty hunter shows up with a ‘feeling’ she’s in danger. As someone who doesn’t trust easily, she’s surprised to find herself believing in him.
Finally convinced she deserves freedom and happiness, she’s anxious to confront those who stole it from her.
In a dangerous race across the country, Kage is determined to protect Journey as he fights to stay one step ahead of the enemy.
Her nametag read Journey. Kage knew he had the right girl, because the single name matched the description he’d been given. Since he hadn’t been able to figure out if that was her first or last name, he’d been calling her Ma’am, even though she couldn’t be much older than twenty. Short but athletically built; he bet she could put up a good fight if she had to…which she might, in the very near future.
“Are you sure I can’t get you anything else?” her voice interrupted, “how about a fresh plate of fries?”
She was talking to him, and he was staring at her like he didn’t understand English.
His face felt hot.
Because he didn’t trust himself not to say something stupid, Kage picked up a cold fry and took a bite. When he was relatively certain he wasn’t going to embarrass himself, he grinned and spoke slowly enough to have time to think about every word. “No thank you, Ma’am. These will do just fine.”
To his surprise, Journey put her hands on her hips and shifted them to one side; her head tilted the opposite way. She raised her brows and gave a hint of a smile. “Look, Mr….”
“Kage,” he drawled slowly, surprised he could speak clearly with her staring at him. Trying to talk to a pretty girl usually made his spit dry up and his tongue stick to the roof of his mouth…another reason he avoided them. Why torture himself?
“Okay. Look, Mr. Kage—”
He shook his head, admiring the swag in her attitude. “Not Mr.,” he interrupted, “just Kage.”
She was fighting a losing battle to look angry, and finally gave into the smile. “You’ve practically been living in here all week. You’re in and out all day; always sit in the same booth, and order meals you don’t eat. Didn’t your momma ever teach you not to waste food? That stuff could’ve gone to people who need a hot meal.”
Kage fought his own smile, but couldn’t stop it. Memories of the lessons his mother had tried in vain to teach him and his brother made him laugh. They’d been restless, rebellious, and disobedient a good bit of the time, but Kage could honestly say neither one of them had ever wasted a morsel of food. Growing up, Kage and Diesel Garmin had eaten anything that didn’t eat them first.
Kage looked at the girl, thinking it was odd she was more concerned about the food he was wasting, than the fact that he’d been loitering in her diner for almost a week; clearly stalking her. Her morals didn’t match any of the trust fund princesses he’d ever met, which he found odd. Still, her glare made him feel guilty.
“There’s no law against it,” she said before he could reply; her tone accusatory. “Being in here, I mean. But our food isn’t that good. The scenery is boring, and we don’t have free wireless Internet. What are you doing here?” she asked point blank.
Kage gave her a full grin. “You’re wrong, there, sweetheart.” Slowly, his stare trailed up and down her body. “The scenery is anything but boring.”
She rolled her eyes. “Save your lines for the whores at the truck stop, cowboy.” She shook her head. “I’m not interested.”
The sarcasm took him off guard, but there was humor in it. When she started to turn away, he reached for her before he could stop himself. “I’m watching out for you,” he blurted out. “I think you might be in a little trouble…”
To learn more about Lauren, you’re invited to visit her website, www.LaurenSharman.com, her author page on Facebook under the name Lauren Sharman: romantic suspense author, or check out her Goodreads page. https://www.goodreads.com/LaurenSharman_romance_author Follow Lauren on Twitter
All books available at: www.Amazon.com
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win PDF copy of No Worries and Reckless Bounty.
The McCassey Brothers Series: No Worries The Devil’s Candy Dusty Rose The Long Road Home
The McCassey Cousins Series: When Night Falls Betrayed Starr Dust Right of Passage