Hi Katy and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, RIPPED!
Thanks so much for having me over!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
RIPPED is a passionate story, full of heat, intense emotions, music, and a very sexy alpha rocker.
Pandora Stone (who some of you might remember from REAL and ROGUE for her sarcasm and overall edginess) thinks she can get closure by going to his ex-boyfriend’s concert and having a little fun (a.k.a. PAYBACK!) Well…things don’t go as planned, and instead of having a little bit of revenge, she ends up getting stuck with the sexy, infuriating Mackenna Jones for a whole month of concerts.
She’s mad, she’s determined to get over him, and more than anything, she’s ready to move on with her life.
But HE is not . . .
Please share the opening lines of this book:
Have you ever had a secret?
One that tears at the deepest part of your soul, that’s so overwhelmingly painful you cannot speak of it for fear it’ll break you apart, limb by limb, cell by cell . . . becoming real, and frightening, and saddening . . .
Or have you had a secret that makes your chest swell like you’ve just been pumped with helium, and you want to shout your secret to the world, but shouting it would mean the world would take your precious secret away from you?
Please share a few Random facts about this book…
So far, I have to say RIPPED has been the easiest Real series book for me to write. Mackenna and Pandora were absolutely bursting to have a go at each other, and I almost felt like I sat back and watched!
Both the hero and the heroine do a “mash” up song that I absolutely did not expect them to do. (In fact, they sort of took over the entire book like that . . .)
I teared up at the end , I just didn’t want to let these two characters go. They fell in love when they were young and there is a terribly sweet ache about that young love they still don’t realize they hold for each other.
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 continually surprised by both my hero and my heroine.
In the beginning, I met Pandora as the gothic friend of Brooke (my Real heroine) and Melanie (my Rogue heroine). I could see Pandora was angry at life but I just didn’t really know her story. All I knew was that she had an ex-boyfriend who absolutely ripped her heart out, and she couldn’t even talk about him.
So in RIPPED, their past (both Pandora and sexy sexy Mackenna’s) was as much a surprise to me as to the reader. I was swept up in her memories, their young love, and even her anger. I wanted to know why Mackenna had left, just like her. I then wanted to know why they couldn’t have made things work. And then it was Mackenna’s turn to surprise me. Because Pandora wasn’t the only one with a secret in this book, and I loved that!
What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?
I think, in general, that I write very powerful connections between the sexes. My characters are always swept away very intensely. Their intensity is palpable. In fact, my wonderful Gallery Books editor always tells me that there is a “hum” in my pages, an energy that can be felt through (and past) the words, and I think ultimately that’s what distinguishes my stories. That very intense attraction, that undeniable connection that pulls you taut and sort of sits like a little knot in your stomach as you hold your breath and root and scream and ache for these characters to find their truths and just go all out and take a chance on the other.
The First kiss…
Before I realize it’s some sort of closet, the door slams shut behind me and a celebration ensues just outside.
They’ve locked me in here. Just like Mackenna predicted, I’m being hazed. Damn, I hate him being right.
I press my ear to the door, straining to hear them outside. They’re still out there, and I hear giggles combined with male whispers. Sighing, I look around the closet and wonder if I’m going to sleep in here. It’s a four-by-four space and not long enough to take me stretched out on the floor. So what, I’ll sleep sitting? All fucking night? No. When they leave, I’m going to try to unlock this sucker.
Minutes pass until, suddenly, they grow mysteriously quiet. I sense them still out there, waiting for something.
Then I hear the voice. Even though it’s muffled, I know exactly who it belongs to, because all the little hairs on my arms rise to attention.
Fuck no. Please. Anyone but him.
“What did you fuckers do?” Mackenna growls under his breath. When nobody answers him, he adds, “What? Is she in there, you pricks?”
“Hell, I don’t know. Why don’t you check and see for yourself, dude?” one of the twins answers.
There’s a cackle.
And then I hear the low, sensual, male sound of Mackenna’s panty-wetting, heart-melting, toe-curling chuckle coming closer. “Seriously? You’re such assholes.”
He gets the door to open, and there he stands, those eerie silver eyes fixed on me. And they are on me. Like a touch. Doing things to my heartbeat that I don’t like but I can’t stop. There’s a tattoo on his forearm, a ring on his thumb, a thousand leather bracelets on his wrist. His lips curl, and I hate the feeling I get, like a bell chiming in the pit of my stomach. I especially hate the little tingle I get when he stretches out his hand.
“Hey,” he says as he studies me with amusement. “Told you, didn’t I?”
He talks to me good-naturedly, with one sleek eyebrow up high, and I feel a flush creep up my body as I stay rooted to my spot, bravely battling a surge of unwanted lust and old, familiar anger.
I want to get out of here, but I don’t like that he gets to play the hero.
Laughter rings out behind him, and before I can take his offered hand or brush snottily past him—which is what I was actually planning on doing—Lex and Jax shove him and, suddenly, all six feet three of Mackenna is crashing into the closet.
The door slams shut behind him. “Woo! Remember seven minutes in heaven, Kenna?” Lex shouts against the door. “How about seven hours in hell, dude!”
They start humming “Pandora’s Kiss,” and anger rushes through me. I fist my hands at my sides and close my eyes, praying for retribution one day.
Sounding bored as could be, Mackenna replies, “Very funny, douche bags” and turns to grab the knob just as there’s a loud screeching of heavy furniture being dragged down the floor outside.
“Are they seriously blocking the door?” I ask, trying to sound bored as well, but in actual fact, I’m alarmed. They are seriously locking me in here?!?!?! With Mackenna?!?!?
This is beyond hell. So far beyond I don’t even have a term for it, but the closet already smells of . . . man. Man-wolf, and alcohol, and . . . ugh!
True panic floods me when I hear more screeching. The guys seem to be piling chairs against the door and jamming them against the doorknob. I mean, what the fuck?
After the screeching, there’s a bang. “Careful, Kenna, she bites!” one of the twins calls out, laughing again.
Mackenna swears under his breath and jiggles the doorknob. Their laughter intensifies, so he stops trying and turns around. The door slit causes attractive shadows to hit his profile as he looks at me. “All right, I’m not giving the assholes the amusement they want.”
I raise one eyebrow in an are-you-serious gesture.
He raises his eyebrow in an I’m-deadly-serious gesture.
I bite the inside of my cheek and slide down to sit on the floor, sighing dramatically.
He drops down too, and suddenly it’s so much more cramped in here. He’s so near. His thigh is all against mine. Hard as rock, and it’s having an unwanted effect on me. This is the nearest I’ve had him since . . .
Hell, I don’t know, my brain can’t get past his thigh. Against mine. Being this close to Mackenna, and his fucking X factor, is pure torture. My female parts are as responsive to him as the rest of the world is. My lungs feel leaden as I try to breathe, but every breath smells of him, and his eyes glow in the dark as he studies my profile in the silence.
The air feels charged between us. I feel awkward, like I want to say something. I guess we’d better start fighting. So I open my mouth.
“Don’t fucking ruin this,” he says in a voice that’s low and commanding.
Startled, I snap my mouth shut.
But my anger resurfaces when he leans forward and a strange surge of anticipation runs through me. “Come any closer and you’ll find my knee in your balls,” I warn.
He stops advancing and laughs softly. “You’ve been thinking of my balls, haven’t you?”
“Only how much I’d like to chop them, slice them, and add salsa to them.”
“And have them against a nice juicy taco. Hmm.”
“Ohmigod! You’re disgusting!”
I try to push him, and he catches my hands in his warm ones, making me gasp when he pins them over my head, against the wall. Outrage bubbles in my veins. I feel so trapped and helpless, and suddenly my heart is going a mile a minute, pumping in my throat. A crazy, wild wave of lust follows my outrage.
God. Seven hours of this?!?!
I groan in protest. The sound of my groan seems to do something to him, because he tightens his hold and weighs even more heavily on me. All two hundred pounds of muscled him. Our eyes hold each other’s in the darkness, and the electricity rushes through me as I warn, “Let go.”
“You don’t mean that.”
I struggle futilely, and he tightens his hold. I nod. Yes, yes I do. I do mean it. But he transfers both my wrists to only one hand and leans his head against mine. The thundering of my heart echoes in my brain as his breath bathes my face. Oh god, he’s so close, and I’ve dreamed about being this close, in dreams and nightmares, during the day and during the night . . . I’ve dreamed of his eyes and how I used to find them always staring at me through those thick lashes of his. I’d dream and think of his lips. The top one shaped like a bow, almost as full as the bottom, the bottom one so plush and curved . . .
And then he kisses me, placing that mouth on me, cupping my head in his free hand and parting my lips with the same lips I hadn’t realized I’d been staring at in painful hunger. The unexpectedness of his kiss makes me struggle halfheartedly to wrench free. I don’t want to want this. I don’t want this soul-searing thirst, the dreadful, inescapable feeling that I’ll break if he kisses me and I’ll break if he doesn’t. I whimper as though he’ll take mercy of me by the sound. He doesn’t. He groans softly and tries slipping his tongue into my mouth, and when I part my lips and let him taste me because I’m clearly out of my mind, suicidal, and horny, I make a sound I haven’t ever made in my life. More than a moan, a whimper, a sound of true, quiet pain. He pulls back when I do, and so do I.
We both stare, in shock.
“Asshole,” I hear myself murmur, breathing hard.
He looks at my lips, and my sex squeezes in reaction as he lowers his head and covers my lips again, more viciously, with his own groan of pleasure.
Did any scene have you crying or laughing (or blushing) while writing it?
Oh, so many! That kiss scene and the little extra touching afterward definitely got me blushing, as did the rest of their sexy moments. I also cried in the end, but I definitely don’t want to spoil that. I laughed in many scenes when they have a go at each other, but I was also very touched when they let their walls down and bantered a little bit, like this one below;
“On a scale of one to ten, how’d that go for you?”
He laughs with me and squeezes me in his arms, and I swear his ego just went Shrek-sized. “You look like a conquering Napoleon, don’t you. You feel like you got it all right now,” I say, groaning tiredly.
“Nah. Napoleon was a little guy. I, on the other hand, am huge.”
“Your ego is huge.”
“Babe, my dick is just as huge as my ego, and they both enjoy being petted by you.”
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters?
The opening scene for sure, after she flung tomatoes at him and absolutely ruined his concert and is taken to a room in the back to face the consequence. Here’s a tiny peek, and boy, is the hero mad here! And so is she! (So many years pining after him haven’t sat too well with her, after all.) 😀
Now nothing stops Mackenna from staring straight at me.
My face burns as I remember how I loved him. Deep, hard, completely.
Don’t think about that. You hate him now!
“Nice hair.” He shoves his glasses into the belt loops of his pants.
His voice, oh god.
His eyes run down the length of my hair, and Melanie offers, “I suggested she add a little spirit to her hair, so at least she looks happy.”
He doesn’t even look at Melanie. He looks at me in the most intense way, specifically the pink strand in my hair, waiting for me to answer. I loathe that pink strand, but not as much as I loathe him.
“Nice tights,” I return, and gesture to his leather pants. “How’d you get into them? From the top of a building and with a pound of butter?”
I refuse to let his chuckle move me, but I feel it run down my legs as he starts approaching. “No need to use butter anymore. These pants are a part of me.” He holds my gaze helplessly trapped. “Like you were a part of me once.”
He’s coming closer, and every step affects me. My cheeks burn. The gall of him to remind me. I’m so angry. Years of hurt simmer in me. Of loneliness and betrayal.
“Fuck you, Mackenna.”
“Already done, Pandora.” His eyes burn with equal fury as he takes a tomato from the table and surveys it with glinting gray eyes. “Is this for me too?”
“That’s right. All. Yours.”
His lips curl in derision as he tosses it up like a ball and easily catches it, all the while watching me.
“Your show is so bad, Melanie and I felt we had to give your fans some real entertainment.”
He runs his eyes across my face, studying me. “Yeah, by humiliating the fuck out of me.”
I can’t stand the way he looks at me, his eyes tracing the same path. My eyebrows, my nose, my lips, my chin, my cheekbones. He makes me wonder if I looked at the wrong mirror today, as if there’s something even remotely interesting to see. I swear nothing prepared me for having his eyes on me again. Nothing. I want to get out of here so fast, he won’t even see my butt as I go.
“Let me go, Mackenna.”
“All right, Dora. But first a parting gift.” Saying my least favorite nickname, he crushes it in one fist then lifts his hand, dropping little pieces of tomato over my head, watching me as I gasp and the juice spreads down my face and the side of my neck.
“There you go,” he croons, his smile wolfish as he works his fingers into my hair to make the juice seep deeper.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
Pandora: HE. REALLY. REALLY. CARES!
Mackenna: SHE’S REALLY, REALLY HURT.
Now kiss and make up, you two! You’re SOULMATES. Didn’t you hear?
What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2015?
I’m working on the first book of a new series to come out March 24, 2015.
This one is a sloooow burn and I’m dying to share it with readers. The relationship took tiny, tiny steps to develop and it was such a real, beautiful, relatable story for me that I feel swoony just thinking about it. I hope readers enjoy this new series so I can keep sharing the new characters in this world with them as well!!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I’d love to give away three signed paperback copies of RIPPED! *Open Internationally
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: READERS, what has been the most surprising heroine or hero trait that you have encountered in your romantic reads? What was it that attracted you (or repulsed you) to that trait?
An excerpt from Chapter One:
I’m the only person in my apartment building that still gets a newspaper. It sits on my doorstep this morning, and I love the way it smells. I love the crackling noise when I drop into my dining room chair and slap the sucker open. This sound, this smell . . . they remind me of lazy Saturday mornings reading the paper with my dad, his cologne scent engulfing me. By the time I was seventeen, he was gone. As was his morning rumple-of-my-hair and his cologne—but not the smell of the paper. It’s been almost a decade and I still find an incomparable little joy in the smell of this freshly printed newspaper. Until now . . .
Now . . . when the heading of the entertainment section stares back at me, mocking me.
Mackenna Jones Is Back in Town! the headline says, and just reading that feels like a punch in the gut.
I squeeze my eyes shut and open them, my stomach trembling uncontrollably.
Mackenna Jones is back in town!
Fuck, I really need to stop reading that.
Mackenna Jones is back in town!
God. Still reads the same.
The name curls around me like smoke in my insides, and butterflies I didn’t even know I still carried crash into the walls of my belly. I thought it impossible that a single one of these butterflies had survived Mackenna Jones.
He’s coming to town, Pandora. What are you going to do about it?
The thought of him being in the same state makes me scowl bleakly. “Seriously, asshole? You had to come here?”
I begin reading the article about Crack Bikini, how the band has revolutionized music. How even Obama has openly said this band is responsible for turning young kids back to the music of the masters—Mozart, Beethoven. But it doesn’t end there. It’s just getting started turning up the schmooze. The reporter keeps going on and on about how this tour has sold out Madison Square Garden faster than Justin Bieber’s first show, and how it will be the concert of the year, if not the decade.
Briefly, the band’s breakout song flits through my head. For a time, this song played on every radio station in the country, and it made me loathe music with a passion—hell, the mere thought of it angers me all over again.
My hands shake as I set down the newspaper, fold it, and try to move on to another section. I live with my mother and my cousin, and I’ve always had an appreciation for my quiet time on Saturdays, when Magnolia has ballet and my mother has errands. But now, my precious Saturday—time I get our apartment to myself—has officially been ruined. Not only my Saturday, this just ruins my entire fucking year.
Mackenna. In Seattle.
My hands tremble as I go back to the entertainment section and slowly scan for the date of the concert. I find myself clicking open Internet Explorer on my phone and navigating straight to Ticketmaster. Yep, the show is already sold out. So I head to eBay, where I discover the staggering prices the best tickets command.
I don’t know why, but for a moment, I imagine myself in one of those pricey seats, calling him the world’s greatest asshole from up close so he can hear through all the noise he and his band members make.
I don’t know what I’m doing. Or maybe I do know. A cold chill is settling in my body. The show is sold out. The tickets cost a fortune. But no. I won’t miss this opportunity. It’s been almost six years since I last saw him. Almost six years since seeing that hard, perfect man-butt as he jumped into his jeans.
The first time he took me, I could almost see my V card nicely tucked into his back pocket. He told me he loved me and asked me to tell him that I loved him. He was still inside me when he asked if I wanted him to be with me. I cried instead—because something is wrong with me, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t say it back. But I know that he knew.
He kissed me harder than ever when I started to cry, and our kiss tasted of my tears. At the time, I thought it all so painful and raw, the way he kissed me. So beautiful. I trembled as he held me. I couldn’t seem to piece myself back together after breaking for him the way I did during my orgasms. I could hear his breath mingle with my breath as he soothed a hand down my spine, telling me over and over that he loved me.
And that wasn’t the only time he took me. For days and weeks and months, we made hot, fevered love. I was seventeen and he was my everything, and when he took me, I thought he wanted everything I had to give. He left anyway. Bastard.
Mackenna was a secret, you see. He was the closest I’ve ever been to a person in my life—but he was a secret nobody could find out about. Especially not my mother. He knew it. I knew it. But we always managed to see each other anyway. We lied, hid, stole out of our homes and into the night, meeting at the docks and hijacking some unsuspecting family’s yacht until sunrise. We didn’t care who our families were, or what was “best” for us.
As far as I was concerned, he was it for me, and I for him.
He was my best friend too.
My world broke when I heard he left Seattle.
He didn’t even say goodbye.
The last thing he’d said to me was that he loved me.
Now. I. Hate. Love.
I thought that with his absence, the wound would heal. But the wound is still there. It’s festered and bubbled up and grown.
I gave the motherfucker everything that was in my young, stupid heart to give, and he ruined me.
Well, fuck him.
Next week he’s in Seattle. He and his mashers are in town and everyone is going. I call them mashers because there’s no other group like them. They mash their songs to someone else’s—to real music. Bach, Chopin, the masters. The result is a rock band symphony that runs through your body and curls your toes. And if you add in his vocals . . .
Hell, I don’t even want to talk about his vocals.
People choose to fall in love because it makes them feel good. Love makes them feel protected, safe. Not me. I choose hate. It makes me feel good. Protected and safe. Hating him is all that keeps me sane. Hating him means what he did to me doesn’t matter. I can still feel something. I am not yet dead, because I can feel this hate corroding me. He’s ruined me for other men. Stopped me from being the woman I could have been. He’s broken every dream of a future with him I had. He was my first love and my first everything, including my first heartbreak.
Even after he left, all I’ve been aware of is him, and what he left me with, and what he took from me.
The tickets are expensive. I spend most of what I make helping my mom care for Magnolia. But three little clicks on eBay is all it would take. Three little clicks and I can go up that last notch of debt on my credit card and see this asshole again, in the flesh.
Totally worth it, I decide, and go online and buy two of the most expensive tickets eBay has to offer.
Opening my calendar, I find the day and mark it with an X.
Get ready, asshole. Your Seattle concert won’t be considered a success. Not if I can help it.
The fifth story in the new adult series that began with the New York Times bestseller REAL.
A ripped rock star with attitude. An ex-girlfriend with a reckless plan.
Pandora assumed getting her heart broken by her bad boy ex could only happen once–until Mackenna Jones comes back to town for the biggest concert of his career. They say girls are getting pregnant justthinking about the Crack Bikini tour and it’s destined to be a huge hit.
Oh, it’ll be a hit alright–when Pandora comes out swinging. She and her friend Melanie are determined to humiliate him onstage. But when they’re caught by security and her ex is summoned, Mackenna decides not to press charges if she’ll join him on tour and follow certain conditions–rules designed to give him the upper hand and keep her in close contact with him once again. Soon, the passion they once shared is reignited, and no matter how much Pandora wants to hate him, her hard exterior starts to crack.
Meet the Author:
Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love. They married and are now hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches “The End.” Which is, hopefully, only the beginning…
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