Hi Melynda and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, In for the Win!
Hi Everyone! Thank you all for stopping by to help me celebrate my latest release, In for the Win.
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
I think I Literary Can’t Even summerized this book the best by describing In For The Win as a hot, angsty romance that tells the story of Penelope, a party girl with a traumatic past, and Kyle, an MMA fighter who’s life is falling apart around him. When the pair is thrown together, a battle of wills commences. Both Pen and Kyle are used to being in control, but something has to give in order for them to find some kind of balance and healing in their turbulent lives.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
As far as bad ideas went, Kyle certainly had his fair share of them. But this one? Wingman for Nikko “The Bull” Del Toro? Not so terrible, until he realized the guy was trying to hook-up with Violet Summers—his goddamn shrink. This was officially the Worst. Idea. Ever. Not only that, but Kyle was pretty confident that if Coach found out what they were up to, he’d be getting benched right beside this poor decision-making bastard who seemed to have as little regard for Kyle’s MMA career as his own.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- In for the Win in the 5th book in my Against the Cage series, but as with all my books, it can be read as a stand-alone.
- In for Win is also a romantic suspense book.
- In for the Win intersects Fighting for Control and Grappling for Position. All three stories are taking place at the same time.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
Pen’s character was a surprising challenge to write. There are so many books out there that have a main character who comes from an abusive background, that I needed to find uniqueness in Pen that would endear her to the reader while taking a different, yet believable, spin on her character. I wanted Pen to feel fresh to the reader and the dichotomy of her relationship with Kyle certainly helps to accomplish that.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
Tonight, when Pen had crawled into his bed, Kyle foolishly hoped she was feeling it too. But as hot as the sex had been, something was still missing. An emotional connection? He didn’t really know, because he’d never felt or wanted one before. But he’d sensed she was holding a part of herself back.
Their disconnect hadn’t been physical. Fuck, he’d never felt so much pleasure—ungloved and coming inside her. The sensation, the intensity…incredible. Even now he was growing hard just from the memory. No, that definitely had not been their problem. The issue, he feared, was emotional. And the struggle to synch Pen’s body with her mind was going to be a challenge. Question was, could he do it? Because he was starting to wonder if his efforts wouldn’t be fought at every turn.
Something in her past had broken her. He didn’t know what, how, or by whom, but her reaction to him earlier left little doubt in his mind. And even the possibility that she’d been abused—physically?—sexually?—filled him with such protective rage, a part of him almost feared discovering the truth. But how could he be the glue to help mend her broken pieces if he couldn’t figure out how they fit back together? She was a puzzle, a complex enigma he wanted to solve because deep down he knew the prize would be her heart.
Pen shook her head, looking utterly and completely lost. “I don’t know, Kyle. This isn’t supposed to be real. And it scares me that you’re changing the rules.”
“And you didn’t change the rules when you climbed into my bed? What the fuck was that about, then? You think because you made them, you can break them without consequence? Or is it because I fuck around that you think you get a pass—that this means nothing to me.”
As each word flew out of his mouth, he could see it ratcheting her fear. And yet he couldn’t seem to shut the fuck up. Her defenses were high and there was no getting past those walls, but he kept battering them with his verbal ground and pound assault. He wasn’t leaving this room until one of them tapped. Unfortunately, he was starting to get concerned that someone was going to be him.
She shook her head in denial, stepping back. And because he was a fighter, he advanced—countering her move for move until her retreat was halted by the bed.
“It was a mistake… This was a mistake…”
“Oh, now it’s a mistake? Because I’m not interested in being your boy-toy? Because you’re scared I might actually want something from you, like, oh…an ounce a trust?—a glimmer of emotion? Something to tell me that I might mean something more to you than a cock to get off on!”
Her eyes narrowed, little hands tightening into fists, and he knew he’d pushed her too far.
“What the fuck, Kyle? I thought I was the one with the vagina! Just because we fucked that doesn’t give you a one-way pass into my life. You don’t have any more right to my secrets than I do yours. You don’t see me trying to pry into your private life, do you? We’re friends—with benefits—and if you want us to stay that way then respect my goddamn boundaries.”
“With benefits? Thanks anyway, I think I’ll pass. I can fuck anytime I want, I don’t need you for that.” He turned to storm out, but her parting words won that round and had him tapping out.
“I was talking about the friends part…”
I think this snippit encompasses the push/pull angst of this story, and captures the essence of these characters personalities.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I have an overarching theme in all my Against the Cage books that I hope carries through them, and that is this… “You are more than the sum of your past. And you don’t have to let yesterday determine your tomorrow.”
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2017?
I have fun, sexy, island romance releasing December 12th, called One and Done. It’s about a divorcee who wants to reinvent herself while on vacation, and she meets this guy she thinks is a homeless, beach-bumming surfer, when really he’s a world-famous, national surfing champion. Balen doesn’t want her to know who he really is because he’s tired of women wanting him for his fame and wealth and so he lets her believe he’s poor and homeless. Autumn feels sorry for him and lets Balen crash in her spare bedroom for the week, figuring she’s in for some hot, no-strings, surfer-guy sex. What woman in her right mind would turn that down, right? She’s a big girl who knows the score. What can possibly go wrong?
One and Done is the first of a trilogy I plan to write. I also have a two romantic suspense books coming out in 2018, release dates are pending.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: To celebrate the release of In for the Win, I’m giving away five e-copies of Win by Submission!
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Tell me your favorite trope… Do you love cowboys, highlanders, billionaires, sports-stars? Friends-to-lovers, fake fiance? I know I’m forgetting a ton… What’s your one-click genre?
Excerpt from In for the Win:
Oh, no. No, no, no… Whatever she’d said about the devil you know being better than the one you don’t, she took it back, because no one said anything about dating that devil. “Wait a minute.” She held up her hands and took a wary step back. “I don’t want a roommate, and I sure as hell don’t want a boyfriend.”
Kyle gave her an exasperated look that shouldn’t have been as sexy as it was. “It’s not for real, Pen. But think about it. You have no idea who this guy is, right? And if people think we’re dating, maybe he’ll lose interest and move on. Maybe he’ll realize fucking with an MMA fighter isn’t as fun as terrorizing a defenseless woman.”
“Or maybe he’ll come after you and get rid of the competition like his text just threatened to do.”
“Better I become his target than you.”
Pen wasn’t sure she agreed with that philosophy. She also didn’t think she could do this, pretending to date someone. Furthermore, she sure as hell could not live with another person—especially Kyle. When the nightmares hit and the walls closed in, she didn’t want him here witnessing that.
For as long as she could remember, her life had been about enduring—enduring those glances, the unwanted touches that made her skin crawl and bile burn the back of her throat as she prayed for it to be over. But it didn’t stop. For years, she’d suffered abuse and depravity at the hands of her stepfather. Everything had become twisted in her mind until she not only hated him for doing that to her, but she hated herself.
“It’s your fault…” he’d told her over and over again—for being too pretty, for dressing too revealing, for smelling too good. He accused her of trying to tempt him, blamed her for his weakness.
Even now, the intrusive memory made her feel like she needed a shower, but the filth that resided inside her would never be washed away, no matter how much soap she used, or how hard she scrubbed her skin raw. The stain of her abuse would never be cleansed. The scar on her wrist was a constant reminder she would never purge the darkness inside her.
As long as she drew breath, that shame would always be there—her constant companion, leaving no place in her life for love. It was the part of herself she would never allow anyone to see. But if Kyle stayed here, if he got too close, he would inevitably discover the wreckage inside her and then everyone would learn the truth. It was a risk she wasn’t willing to take, because no one would ever look at her the same again—her mother certainly hadn’t.
“You can’t stay here, Kyle.”
He was about to argue and she cut him off. She couldn’t risk him getting too close. Something about this man snuck past her guard and threatened her resolve. Pen could deny it all she wanted, but there was a connection between them, one she needed to sever before it was too late. She’d felt it the night they’d hooked up, and she could feel it now. It made him dangerous, because she couldn’t allow herself to fall for him. Kyle Scott was not her happily ever after—as much as he was playing her knight in shining armor right now—fairy tales did not come true for girls like her.
“You know what your problem is?” she asked, already hating herself for what she was about to say, but it had to be done.
Tension stole over him and she recognized the subtle stiffening in his shoulders, that stubborn set of his jaw as he stood toe-to-toe with her, muscular arms crossing over his equally impressive chest.
“What’s that, Pen? What’s my problem?”
“You’ve got a hero complex. You took care of your sister, and now she doesn’t need you anymore, you can’t stand it. You need someone to save. You need a purpose. As noble as that may be, it’s also fucked up. I can’t fill her void, Kyle. I’m never going to be that damsel in distress.”
The curse that flew out of his mouth startled her. His icy glare was full-on daggers as he leaned into her, his presence so imposing it took everything she had not to step back. “You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about,” he growled, pointing an accusing finger at her. “First of all, my issues with Willow aren’t any of your goddamn business. Secondly, you’ve got a psychotic nutcase after you, and if you don’t wisen the hell up, you’re going to get hurt. And why do I care? Beats the hell out of me. For some reason that I can’t fathom, I happen to like you. And truth? You don’t make that a very easy thing to do. So why don’t you drop the I-don’t-need-anyone routine and just take the goddamn assistance.”
It was true, she didn’t make it easy, and most guys would have given up and walked away by now. In fact, that was what she’d been counting on Kyle doing. But nope. Apparently, Kyle Scott was the real deal—a freaking Boy Scout—and he was proving to be just as tenacious out of the cage as he was inside it.
“Pen, that text proves this guy not only knows where you live, but that he’s watching you. The threats in those messages are escalating and it’s only a matter of time before this comes to a head. You’re not safe here alone. Maybe you should stay with me. God knows, I’ve got plenty of extra space now.”
“I’m not leaving my home, Kyle. I can’t.” Disrupting her normalcy and losing her familiarity would only make the nightmares and flashbacks worse. At least here she could control her environment, reduce the triggers. No… Leaving was not an option. It would definitely be worse than gaining a roommate. “All right, Kyle. You win. There’s a spare bedroom down the hall. You’re welcome to it. But as soon as this is over, you have to leave.”
“On my honor.” He held up his hand in a Scout’s pledge.
Yeah, that’s what she’d thought—a freaking Boy Scout…
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
To win his heart, she’ll have to give him the one thing that could drive him away—the truth…
Kyle Scott’s talent for fighting paved the way for a career he never wanted, but needed to survive. Five years later, he doesn’t recognize the man he’s become. All his focus and energy has been poured into raising his little sister, leaving no time or interest for anything beyond a casual hook-up—until he meets a woman who sends his life spiraling out of control.
Penelope Cantrel isn’t looking for love, but she’s always ready for a good time. If she keeps everyone at a distance, they can’t discover how broken she is, or the secrets she’s running from. When she crosses paths with the sexy MMA fighter, Kyle’s reputation as a cage-banging manwhore doesn’t concern her. She isn’t interested in a commitment. But after their white-hot attraction leads to a night of mind-blowing sex, neither of them will ever be the same again.
When Pen starts receiving threatening messages, her deepest fears are realized as she becomes the obsession of a man who will kill to possess her. Concerned for her safety, Kyle offers to pose as her boyfriend to deter her unwanted admirer, but his heated touches and those not-so-innocent kisses don’t feel like he’s acting. Could the infamous playboy be falling for her?
As the threat against Pen escalates, her stalker is closer than they thought. Kyle is the only thing standing between her and a madman, but she fears trusting him with her secrets could be a fatal mistake.
Meet the Author:
Melynda Price is a bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her Against the Cage series has finaled in many awards such as the RONE, USA Today BBA, Golden Quill, National Readers’ Choice, and New England Readers’ Choice.
What Price enjoys most about writing is the chance to make her readers fall in love, over and over again. She cites the greatest challenge of writing is making the unbelievable believable, while taking her characters to the limit with stories full of passion and unique twists and turns. Salting stories with undertones of history whenever possible, Price adds immeasurable depth to her well-crafted books. She currently lives in Northern Minnesota with her husband and two children where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua and a hot cup of coffee to write.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads |