Hard As Steel
(A Hard Ink/Raven Riders Crossover)
by Laura Kaye
After identifying her employer’s dangerous enemies, Jessica Jakes takes refuge at the compound of the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. Fellow Hard Ink tattooist and Raven leader Ike Young promises to keep Jess safe for as long as it takes, which would be perfect if his close, personal, round-the-clock protection didn’t make it so hard to hide just how much she wants him–and always has.
Ike Young loved and lost a woman in trouble once before. The last thing he needs is alone time with the sexiest and feistiest woman he’s ever known, one he’s purposely kept at a distance for years. Now, Ike’s not sure he can keep his hands or his heart to himself–or that he even wants to anymore. And that means he has to do whatever it takes to hold on to Jess forever.
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An Exclusive Interview With Laura Kaye:
~ with Jillian Stein of Read Love Blog
I loved loved loved Jess and Ike together in this story. How did you choose them for your novella?
Oh yay! I’m so glad to hear it because I really adored writing them! Jess and Ike were the perfect choice for a novella because they were secondary characters in my Hard Ink series who go on the run after it’s revealed that Jess has seen a bad guy and is therefore now in jeopardy. After that, their story takes place apart from the rest of the Hard Ink characters, which created lots of opportunities for things to get super hot!
The heat between them was off the charts and I vote it’s your hottest book yet. Is it ever difficult writing and editing sex scenes?
Oooh I love that vote! *grins* I knew these two were going to be hot together, and they definitely were! I really enjoy writing sex scenes, which I know isn’t true for all authors. But I think they’re key moments for growth in the romantic arc, and I like trying to wring everything from them I can! The biggest challenge is layering in the emotional and mental reactions alongside the physical. I never want to write sex just for sex’s sake, by which I mean a sex scene that doesn’t serve a bigger purpose in the story…
Tattoos play a big part of these books and I know you’ve gotten your own new tattoos recently. Do you have plans for any more?
Tattoos do play a big part in the Hard Ink series, and I just love them in general. I love the art, the meaning behind them, how personal they are, and the stories they tell. I have five tattoos now and definitely want more. I think my next one will be an angel for my mom who died in 2005.
I love the suspense aspect of the Hard Ink series. Do you ever run into trouble when trying to think of what will happen next to keep the story moving?
Of all the things I’ve written, suspense is the most challenging. It requires more plotting and outlining than I typically do to make sure I’ve got the suspenseful beats and pacing just right. The real challenge is how to connect the dots—and fit in all the romantic time you want for your characters—while keeping the tension high and the pacing fast.
Who would you dream cast for Ike and Jess?
Reality TV star Kat Von D would make an amazing Jess! And Vin Diesel would make a crazy hot Ike!
Now, you’ve also written paranormal, which is another series of yours I adore. Do you think you will ever get back into that genre?
I’ve written vampires and Greek gods and absolutely love writing paranormal. I definitely plan to come back to it in the future. I have a great paranormal military romance idea I can’t wait to tackle!
You’ve also written a M/M novella I loved. Did you find it challenging to write the M/M relationship?
Writing Jeremy and Charlie (Hard to Be Good) was a terrific experience, both because I loved these characters and the readers really wanted their story. Honestly, their story was no more challenging than writing any romance, with the possible exception of keeping the pronouns clear! I was most concerned about giving their story the same emotional depth as all the others, and I hope I did it justice!
What would we find on your desk right now?
LOL! Lots of book-related knickknacks and gifts from readers, a big pile of receipts from traveling, the galley proof pages from America’s First Daughter, my debut historical fiction coming out in 2016, and lots of Hard Ink and 1001 Dark Nights swag.
Can you give us a hint as to what you’re working on now?
I’m finishing up the first full-length novel in the new Raven Riders series, Ride Hard, which releases April 26, 2016! And then I’ll be diving into Hard Ever After, a wedding follow-up novella in the Hard Ink series.
New York Times and USA Today bestseller Laura Kaye is the author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Laura grew up amid family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
Laura is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Maryland Romance Writers, and she is past president of the RWA-Contemporary Romance Writers.
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