Hi Katherine and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, After Midnight!
Happy New Year!!
Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:
Please share the opening line of this book:
Bad boy, snowboarder and Lindsey Collins’ worst nightmare. Carter was everything she wasn’t, and if she was being totally honest, everything she sort of wished she could be.
Please share a few Random facts about this book…
I’ve always been a fan of the Olympics and love the idea of winter sports but I grew up in Florida so never really tried them. But I was a competitive swimmer so I understand the athletic mind. It’s so easy to just focus on practicing and the next big meet, that you can forget to live. That is what I explored for Lindsey and Carter.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
I was surprised at how sweet Carter could be. He’s full on bad boy with tattoos and wild man attitude but there are moments when he is really sweet. I adored that.
I was also surprised by how Lindsey was so good on skis but lacked confidence off them. I figured she’d be ballsy all the time but she had a lot of vulnerabilities.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I spent a lot of time reading up on alpine skiing as well as the impact of injuries on athletes. This is the third book set at the Lars Usten Lodge and I want to explore a bit more of Park City and found some really cool places for Lindsey and Carter to go exploring.
The First kiss…
“The countdown is starting…”
It had already begun, Lindsey thought. It had started ten long years ago, and now it came down to this moment.
Three, two, one…
She went up on tiptoe, wrapped her arms around Carter’s neck and met his mouth with hers.
His hands on her waist tightened as he drew her closer into the curve of his body. His chest was firm against hers. Solid. He held her as if he wasn’t going to let her fall. Let her crash. And that was exactly what she needed.
Her pulse was racing, and little tingles were shooting down her body. Turning slightly, he moved them a few steps off the dance floor.
She felt the hard wall at her back and the warmth of Carter’s skin through his shirt as he pulled her closer.
She needed more. So much more from him at this moment.
“Want to get out of here?” he asked.
Was there a scene in this book that was harder to write than others?
There is a scene where Lindsey skis for the first time and it’s because Carter is there with her. She’s been faking it and making sure that no one realises she hasn’t been back on skis since her accident. Here is a bit of that scene:
“THE STEEP MOUND of snow might look like a bit of fun to anyone else, but to Lindsey it looked huge. As she stood at the base of it, she realized that Carter had found her the ideal place to test her own limits.
“I have a sled in the SUV,” he said. “Let me go and get it.”
Words were inadequate while fear was tightening her throat, but really her fear had to do with the public way she’d fallen. She knew everyone had seen it, and now when she put on her skis she was always aware of people watching her. In truth, they might not be, but her fear was that they were.
She noticed some foot holes had been dug in the snow and put her boots in, slowly climbing to the top of the mound. When she got to the top, she simply stood there. Her pulse was racing, and she was sweating inside her snow wear even though it was freezing.
She licked her dry lips and tipped her head back to look up at the sky. This height was so small compared to the mountains she’d skied in her career, “ yet it felt bigger. Felt scarier somehow, and she knew she didn’t want Carter to see her this way.
It was one thing to admit she was afraid to ski but something else entirely to actually let him see a glimpse of what that fear looked like. She turned to climb down and saw him standing there, the trees behind him, their limbs heavy with ”
snow. The small sled in one hand and the most serious look she’d ever seen in Carter Shaw’s blue-gray eyes.
She hated that he was witnessing this moment of horrible weakness.
He didn’t say anything, just continued to watch her. Inside her fear a small bubble of rebellion formed. Carter was the last person on earth she wanted to witness this meltdown.
“Great…I’m glad you have that sled. I was going to give it a try without one but thought I’d wait for you.”
“You don’t have to do this,” he told her. “Baby steps are the way forward.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about. This little mound is nothing,” she said airily. God, please let me get off this damned mound, and quickly.
“Okay.” He pointed into the distance. “See that drift over there?”
She glanced all the way across the clearing to the large drift that had been reinforced probably by the same people who’d built this mound. That had to be where the sled would stop. It seemed huge. Farther than anything she’d gone down before.
But she knew that was fear talking.
“Great?” he repeated. “I know it’s not great, gorgeous.”
She knew it, too. But she wasn’t about to let him once again see her weak and vulnerable. Man, was that what this was all about? Was that why she couldn’t ski? Vulnerability?
Whatever it was, she was going to have to sled down this ”
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include and why?
It’s a scene toward the end when Carter realizes that Lindsey isn’t going to ever see him differently than she always has.
He was a tattooed snowboarder who’d been searching all his life for the next big thrill. The next adrenaline-fueled high he could find. He’d never have guessed that he’d find it in this cool Nordic blond, Alpine Super G skier who always seemed to look right through him.
“Goodbye,” he said.
He turned, opened the door and forced himself to walk away without looking back. But he wanted to see if she watched him as he left. Wanted to know if he’d had an impact on her the way she had him. But was afraid to see the truth: that he might need her more than she wanted him.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
That no matter how successful you are in life there is always going to be something that shakes you and forces you to change direction. Also that you can’t fall in love with someone until you know what’s going on with yourself.
What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2015?
Next up is Carrying The King’s Child from Harlequin Desire.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I’m giving away copies of all three Holiday Heat series books to one lucky commenter.
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by Katherine Garbera
“Hello, gorgeous.” Carter Shaw.
Bad boy, snowboarder and Lindsey Collins’ worst nightmare. Carter was everything she wasn’t, and if she was being totally honest, everything she sort of wished she could be.
He laughed in that husky deep-throated way of his.
She tried to ignore the fact that his eyes were a kind of blue-gray that reminded her of early mornings on the slope just after the sun came up. His dark hair was thick and curly on the top, but at this moment cut short on the back of his neck. She’d seen him wear it a lot longer, but this sportier cut called even more attention to his handsome, gorgeous face. He had that sexy stubble that made her fingers tingle with the urge to touch it each time she saw him. And it didn’t help her libido that the guy had that relaxed vibe of someone who’d grown up in California. To her, he’d always looked as if he should be on a surfboard instead of a snowboard.
“Nice shindig,” he said. “If you like glamour.”
Briefly glancing away to check out their surroundings, she smiled despite herself. The club at the Lars Usten Resort and Spa certainly did New Year’s Eve in a big way. Lots of champagne. Lots of partygoers. Hats and horns for everyone. There was a large dance floor in the middle and banquettes around the end, as well as lots of high tables.
“I can do glamour,” she replied.
“You sure can,” he said with a wink.
“Are you hitting on me?” she asked. “You’ve always said you’d rather kiss your snowboard than a Super G skier.”
“Well, you are looking a lot better than my snowboard at the moment.”
Lindsey shook her head at the way he said it. There was something different about him tonight. He wasn’t his usual cocky self. They were both here this evening because of the wedding of their two friends, Elizabeth and Bradley. The newlyweds had long since departed and she had stayed behind because it seemed a little too Bridget Jones to be sitting all alone in her barely furnished condo on New Year’s Eve.
Up till now Lindsey had never been a big fan of staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. What was the point? Her entire life had been spent training to win an international gold medal—and kissing someone at midnight really kind of paled in comparison to that goal. Or at least it had. But tonight…she felt a little wild. A little out of control. And if she was being completely honest, she felt like doing something she’d never do otherwise. Last year was supposed to have been her year, and she’d crashed and burned playing by the rules and following her plan. She’d suffered a humiliating fall in a practice run in Sochi that had ended her career and changed her life. Instead of attacking the changes with her customary gusto, she’d settled into a sort of limbo here in Park City, Utah, at the Lars Usten lodge.
It had been so easy to do. The resort was cushy; her students at the lodge were cute and undemanding. The past six months or so had given her the chance to take it easy and slowly recover from more than knee surgery.
But this year… Well, this year all bets were off. Starting right here right now. The band was playing Van Morrison’s signature hit, and she shot Carter a brazen look. “This is my song.”
She pointed to her eyes. Oh, God, was she really doing this? “‘Brown Eyed Girl.'” Yes, it seemed she was.
“Then let’s dance,” he said, grabbing her wrist and leading her onto the dance floor. He swung her around to face him, and she let go and pretended she didn’t know all the things she knew about Carter.
That he played fast and loose with life and women. That he was a rebel risk taker who had caused more than one accident on the slopes. That he liked to put his hand on her hip and hold her close while they danced.
And he smelled good. A clean, crisp scent that reminded her of being outside and on the slopes.
She turned away from him.
She wasn’t herself tonight. She should dance off the dance floor and out the door. Go home and forget about trying to be something and someone she wasn’t.
Except she was lost.
Really lost…and she needed something to make her feel alive again. Something that going sixty miles per hour down the side of a mountain used to do but couldn’t anymore.
“Gorgeous? You okay?”
No. Definitely not okay, but confessing that to Carter wasn’t something she was going to do.
“Let me get you a drink. Grab us some seats and we can chat.”
“What would we possibly have to chat about?” she asked. “The charity event to get kids skiing that we’re both working on. I know that’s not until next November, but we are both playing a key role in it.” His eyes gleamed with mischief. “Or the fact that, come midnight, I’m going to kiss you. I’ll let you pick.”
Suddenly tongue-tied, she watched him turn away and slowly weave his way through the crowd. He was popular, and everyone stopped him to chat or snap a quick selfie. And he smiled and acted as though he enjoyed it.
Heck, he probably did. She’d heard her coach say he loved the spotlight and the spotlight loved him. And she’d never seen any evidence to the contrary. How did he do it?
She wished there was some way she could claim his confidence for herself. To make herself into the invincible badass that Carter was. But the truth was she wasn’t that type of girl, and no matter how much she tried, she wasn’t going to change overnight.
Part of the problem was that she’d just come from an incredibly romantic winter wedding that seemed to emphasize that she was alone. Added to that, the bride’s maid of honor, Penny, had recently hooked up with Will, her handsome vacation fling, which was quickly turning into something that was bound to last a lot longer.
And she was alone.
No. Not desperate. Though it did feel that way until Carter came back with a lemon-drop martini for her and some kind of mixed drink for himself. He slid in next to her at the high table instead of across from her and draped his arm along the back of the seat.
He canted his body toward hers and she thought, What the hell. She wasn’t going to start another year the way she had all the rest. This year was going to be different, and Carter Shaw would be hers tonight.
Carter had wanted Lindsey since the first time he’d seen her. They’d both been two hotshot seventeen-year-olds being interviewed on ESPN, and when she’d looked straight at him with her pretty chocolate-brown eyes, he’d felt that spark shoot through his body.
But she’d always been the ultimate ice queen. Too cool for someone as wild and risky as he’d always been. But he’d gotten to know her better now. More than ten years later, he still wanted her, but he saw her through the eyes of a man and not a lusty boy.
Though, in all honesty, gazing at her now, looking like a gorgeous goddess, she still made him horny as hell.
And it was New Year’s Eve. He’d spent more of them than he wanted to admit higher than the Rocky Mountains and with people whose names he couldn’t recall.
He knew he’d changed over the course of the past year. The winter games had given him a check in the last box of his goals list. And it had been a sobering wake-up call when he’d witnessed Lindsey crash and realized his Nordic angel had feet of clay. Seeing her career end so quickly and unexpectedly had made him understand that he needed to look at his own life. He wasn’t going to be able to snowboard forever at the top level of his event.
So he’d come here to Park City. Okay, in part to be closer to her. To see if maybe she’d be interested in him now that she wasn’t so focused on training 24/7. But she still looked straight through him, as if he was just another man in the room. He wanted to be the only man in the room she saw.
“So, gorgeous, have you been thinking about that kiss?” he asked smoothly.
He sure had. It was hard to think of anything else when he was standing so close to her. Tonight she had her long, pale hair pulled back into an elegant updo. Tendrils framed her heart-shaped face and accentuated her long neck. Her mouth was full and sensuous, and she’d coated it with a sparkly lip gloss, which made it so hard for him to tear his gaze away. He leaned in closer. Almost kissed her before he pulled back.
He was waiting for midnight.
Besides, he had more control than that. He didn’t give in to his baser instincts. Not anymore.
“I can tell it’s been on your mind,” she purred, lifting her hand and running her finger over his lower lip, back and forth, before spreading her fingers out and rubbing them over the stubble on his jaw.
She closed her eyes as she touched him for just a second, nibbling at her bottom lip before her hand dropped away.
“I have. You know I’ve been interested in you forever.”
“Forever?” she said. “That’s a bit of an exaggeration.”
Not really. But admitting to her that she’d been his obsession for the better part of ten years wasn’t something he planned to do tonight.
The band had switched to contemporary dance hits, and the loud, infectious beat pumped through the room. Lindsey swayed to it as she took a sip of her lemon-drop martini. It was sad that he knew what she liked to drink. But in a way she’d always been his safe fantasy. The one thing in his life, however distant, that was good and always just out of reach.
He wrapped a wispy tendril of straight blond hair that was hanging along the nape of her neck around his finger. Her locks were exquisitely soft. Her skin, showed off by the stunning emerald-green dress she wore, so pale and creamy.
“Not an exaggeration. When we met at ESPN, I knew I wanted to kiss you.”
She pursed her lips and tipped her head subtly away from him. “You were a player even then. And we both know you were attempting to throw me off my game. I almost let you.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“My parents. They had sacrificed a lot for me to get where I was, and no hotshot snowboarder with a tattoo was going to change that.”
“With a tattoo. Is this a mark against me?” he asked, rubbing the side of his neck at the site of his first tattoo. It was a courage symbol that he’d seen in Japan when his father, an international businessman, had taken him there for a trip. Carter had been sixteen at the time and had snowboarded in Nagano while his father had worked. The tattoo had been his way of getting his father’s attention while also proving to himself that he hadn’t needed it. What could he say? He’d been a teenager.
She traced the design with her long, sparkly painted fingernail. “Not now. But back then you seemed wild and reckless. Too much for me. I needed to concentrate on my skiing.”
“You were the fast one,” he said with a wink. He knew that a lot of people thought what he did was dangerous—the flips and the 360s—but Lindsey had thrown her body down the mountain at speeds in excess of sixty miles per hour. Something that never failed to turn him on.
She scraped her finger down the column of his neck, sending delicious shivers through his body, and his cock stirred. Seeing his reaction, she leaned in closer, closed her eyes and released a sigh.
“Why is it that you are always racing ahead of me, then?” she asked in a soft whisper spoken right in his ear.
His ability to think was gone. Her breath was warm and her finger kept stroking his neck. All he could think about was her mouth. And how close it was to his. He turned his head to kiss her. Needed to feel her lips under his. But a waitress bumped into their table, jostling the drinks, and Lindsey pulled back.
Carter cursed under his breath but put on a smile for the cocktail waitress, who looked stricken. “No worries.”
“These are for you,” she said, setting down two cards and handing them Lars Usten Resort and Spa pens before walking away.
It was one thing to decide she was going to spend the night with Carter, but she was finding it altogether more unnerving than she would have expected. In movies she’d seen the woman go after the guy, and then there would be a montage of kisses or dancing that ended up with the couple in bed. But she’d always been awkward at this stage.
There was something about Carter that for her was irresistible. His tattoo had fascinated her for a long time, and that stubble of his was just as a soft as she’d imagined it would be. She was letting the martini power her courage tonight…and she had to admit she liked it.
“What is this?” She pulled the card the waitress had dropped on their table toward her. He’d been about to kiss her, and though she wanted that kiss, she was glad for the reprieve. She only needed a kiss at midnight. Not a public make-out session before that.
“Some sort of resolutions form,” he said. “So, gorgeous, what do you want for this New Year?”
She arched a brow. “Why do you keep calling me that?”
“Because you are gorgeous,” he said with another sly wink. “Plus, I’m sort of afraid if I say your name, you’ll remember you don’t like me.”
“Ah, I wouldn’t say I don’t like you,” she demurred. He was a little too wild and too out of control to be someone she felt comfortable with most of the time, but tonight that appealed to her. She wanted to forget who she was. Forget the past year had happened and wake up on January 1 as someone else.
That was pitiful, she thought. She should stop drinking. She’d had two martinis, and while she wasn’t drunk, she did have that nice little buzz. But it was the maudlin thoughts that bothered her.
“Okay. What would you say about me, then?”
“I like that tattoo,” she admitted. “And your stubble. How do you get it so soft?”
He laughed. “I’ve got more tattoos if you like that one.”
“You do?” she asked. “Where?”
“I’ll show you if you play your cards right.”
She flushed a little. Not as bold as she wanted to be, but she wasn’t backing away. She was doing this. She was going to be impulsive. And daring. Not Lindseylike.
Needing a distraction, she glanced down at the resolution list on the card. “Do you do resolutions?”
“Seriously?” he asked with a mocking look. “Do I look like someone who wants to better myself?”
She shook her head, but realized in that instant that he was playing at being the bad-boy snowboarder she’d always thought he was. “I’m not sure about that. I think there is a big part of Carter Shaw the world never gets to see.”
He shook his head. “Nah. I mean, there are those tattoos, but otherwise, what you see is what you get.”
She doubted that. She was on to him. Why did he work so hard to be something he wasn’t? For that matter, why did she? Because it was easier than letting the world see who she truly was.
“What food do you want to try next year?” she asked, reading from the list and hoping that she could keep her courage until midnight. Only another fifteen minutes. She wanted him. She wanted this New Year’s Eve to be different from all the rest.
Countdown to a kiss…
At the stroke of midnight, Lindsey Collins will finally kiss Carter Shaw. A former championship skier, Lindsey had a life of all training and no play until a devastating injury sidelined her. Now she’s ready to put her good-girl ways behind her and kick off the New Year with a little fun…and the sexy snowboarder is the perfect distraction!
Now that Carter has Lindsey in his arms for one mind-blowing night, he’s not giving up. He’ll do whatever it takes to break through her Ice Queen exterior and show her he’s more than just a fun time. But how can she believe in him when she can’t even believe in herself enough to return to skiing—and all that she’s worked for?
Meet the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 60 books. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.
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