March is finally upon us. March is always an exciting month for me. I look forward to warmer weather, Lent, beer, ham and cabbage, and Irish potatoes. This year I can add a couple very exciting book releases to my personal March madness, not the least of which was written by my hostage in the Writer’s Den today:
Romantic suspense author Winter Austin!
Winter perpetually answers the question: "were you born in the winter?" with a flat "nope." Having recently changed her address back near her hometown, she has stepped into the chaotic world of a full-time wife, mom, author, coach, and employee. With her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter has translated that into writing deadly romantic thrillers. Combining her love of all things rural, agricultural, and military, she's turned her small town life upside down. And we thank her for it. I love her books. And she knows it - which is why I got an advanced copy of Born to Die after only copious amounts of begging and surreptitious cyber-stalking. Before I give you my thoughts on the book, I thought we’d take advantage of having Winter’s captive attention and ask her some personal questions:
What is your favorite word?
Seriously?! No, really. My husband loves to mimic me in a falsetto voice when I say it, or don’t say it and he’s expecting me to; especially when he or the kids have said something uber-stupid.
What is your least favorite word?
Can’t, because someone was always telling me I “can’t” do this or that because …. and my response would be, I’ll just show you. Sadly, when you hear that enough in your life, you sometimes let it slip out.
What turns you on?
Being kissed on the neck. You know in that one particular spot, just right there ….
What turns you off?
BO. I mean stink like you were rolling in onion juice and garlic and then just sweating all over the place, make me gag, BO.
What sound or noise do you love?
The wind blowing through the trees. Or leaves crunching under foot while hiking through a wooded area.
What sound or noise do you hate?
Whining, complaining, fighting teenagers. Worst noise ever!
What is your favorite curse word?
Hell, usually stated as: Seriously?! What the hell?!
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Baker, cause then maybe I’d be so sick of making the goodies I wouldn’t eat them. But I love to bake, I’m not fancy with any of my creations by any means, but taste and texture for me are a must. If not a baker, a chef, in Louisiana, maybe New Orleans, at least in Cajun country.
What profession would you not like to do?
Housekeeping/janitor, I barely like cleaning my house, I’d never do it for a living. People who hire others to clean their houses are freaking out of this world PICKY. If it’s clean enough for me, then it’s clean. That and I can’t breath too well around bleach, bleach based products, or any highly toxic odorous chemical cleaning products.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
I love that, Welcome home. And I loved Born to Die. In fact, as much as I gushed over Atonement, I think B2D – the 2nd title in the McIntire County series – was better. In fairness, unlike your Degrees of Darkness series which featured the tumultuous and often deadly love story of one couple over the course of 4 books, The McIntire series appears to be a series of independent but interlinked romances. And as with all your books to date include wicked criminals, nail-biting suspense, and an who-did-it/who-will-survive-it atmosphere that makes the love story feel almost secondary but totally organic to the story being told.
Trouble’s on the run in rural Eider, Iowa, and Deputy Cassy Rivers’s heart is in the line of fire. Two years ago, she barely escaped a harrowing experience at the hands of a maniac—and not without scars. Now a series of random robberies leads to the brutal death of a fellow officer, and she must put her trust in the one man who broke her heart.
FBI agent Boyce Hunt knows commitment isn’t for men with pasts like his. He left Cassy once to protect her from the blackmail and manipulation he faces from his mother’s criminal enterprise. But when they reluctantly partner up to capture the modern Bonnie and Clyde terrorizing McIntire County, their attraction flames to life once more, pulling Boyce between two loyalties.
Will they risk their hearts again, even if it means losing everything?
RELEASES EVERYWHERE ON MARCH 28TH
Clearly – I loved this. Cassy and Boyce were key players in Book 1 and the appearance of Nic and Con as supporting cast makes it feel like a homecoming. A really bloody homecoming. :) I got the backstory between Cassy and Boyce that was only hinted at in Atonement as they hunt a killer or killers while still recovering from past monsters. Monsters we know from Book 1 and others that have been hidden from us until now. Staying alive and staying together become priorities for this argumentative, passionate couple.
And new characters are slid in to the narrative with just enough mystiques that I think I’ve figured out whose story will be presented in Book 3. If I’m right, and it’s as good as I think it will be, I may let Winter off the hook for leaving my man Heath hanging in the wind (see my obsession with the legendary DOD supporting character Heath Anderson).
While The McIntire series doesn’t feel as complicated as the DOD did – frankly Winter had to juggle 4 books, no cliffhangers, that were actually 4 parts to a larger plot. It overwhelms me to consider such a thing and she handled it seamlessly – because each book stands alone, I feel like Winter really had the freedom to dive into this. Atonement was the warm-up for B2D. She aimed for the fences with this one. It’s not necessary to read the first Book before Born to Die but I would if I were you. You’ll finish B2D want to read Atonement but knowing how things end for Nic & Con will take some of the excitement out of Book 1.
In a nutshell: Frickin' awesome. When’s the next one?
You can pick up your copy of Born to Die here: