Hi Sara and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Trouble Walks In!
Thanks so much! I’m thrilled to be here to chat about TROUBLE WALKS IN, the second book in my McGuire Brothers series.
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
Maddy Morgan suffered a devastating loss and ran away to New York City to escape the grief. A highly successful real estate agent, she wants to bury herself in work but old friend, Ronan McGuire won’t let her go without a fight. Ronan is an NYPD K9 officer and until Maddy came back into his life, all he cared about was his job, his family and his bloodhound partner, Bowser. When they were kids back in Old Brookfield, Ronan had it bad for Maddy but she was always just out of his reach. Now that she’s moved to NYC, Ronan has made it his personal mission to bring Maddy out of her self-imposed isolation and back into the world. But when women in the NYC real estate scene start to get murdered, the desire burning between them may be the least dangerous of their problems.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
All of the McGuire Brothers are men in uniform and each book opens with a prologue that gives the readers a glimpse into the hero’s world. Ronan is a search and rescue K9 officer and when the book opens, he and his partner, Bowser, are searching for a missing little boy in Central Park.
The boy had been missing for twelve hours, and Ronan McGuire knew better than anyone that if they didn’t find the kid soon, the search could end in the worst possible way. It had been an unusually cold November, and when little David Newhart wandered away from his parents this morning in the park, he hadn’t been wearing a coat. The sun had gone down hours ago, and the temperature was close to freezing.
Please share a few Random facts about this book…
- I spent a day with the Westchester County K9 unit to learn all I could about the relationship between an officer and his dog.
- Carolyn and Charles McGuire, Ronan’s parents, are loosely based on my own parents.
- The whole Christmas Eve scene, with Carolyn giving out Christmas pajamas etc., was inspired by Christmas traditions with my family.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
Ronan ended up being much sweeter than I thought he would be. He’s tough and capable. A man’s man. However, he’s also a big softie and Maddy pretty much has him wrapped around her finger without even realizing it.
What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?
Well, I certainly haven’t read everything out there. All I can do is share with you what I was hoping to accomplish. The hero and heroine are grownups and I really wanted the evolution of their relationship to feel real and relatable. There’s no outlandish misunderstanding or over-the-top alpha male behavior from Ronan. These are two imperfect people who fall in love with each other’s imperfections.
The First kiss…
Maddy and Ronan’s first kiss was a long time coming. They’ve known each other since they were kids but as adults, they’ve formed a strong friendship. The attraction has always been there but until recently, Ronan didn’t have the opportunity to act on it. She moved to NYC a year ago and they’ve been going jogging together most weekends in Central Park. In this scene, Ronan was lecturing Maddy about taking precautions when meeting with clients, because one of her colleagues had been murdered. When the conversation got a little too intense, Maddy tried to hightail it away from Ronan but she slipped and twisted her ankle….
“You aren’t running on that anytime soon. Or walking, for that matter.”
“I’ll be fine,” she said, not really believing it. At the moment, it freaking hurt. “Come on, let’s go.”
Maddy started hobbling away, wanting to retain some dignity, but before she could get far, Ronan scooped her up in his arms. He cradled her against his chest, and as she linked her arms around his neck, Maddy caught a glimpse of that cocky smirk.
“I can walk on my own, Ronan.”
“No you can’t.” He stopped walking and let out some of the slack on Bowser’s leash. The dog was whining again and pulling away, toward the wooded area to the left of the path. “You’re stubborn, just like I said before. Bowser thinks you should stop complaining too.”
“Right.” Maddy rolled her eyes but couldn’t stifle the smile. “We aren’t too far from the road. I can get a cab from there.”
“We,” Ronan said firmly. “We can get a cab from there. I’m taking you home and getting a closer look at that ankle.”
“You are persistent, aren’t you?”
“You have no idea,” he murmured. Ronan’s fingers dug into her leg. It was an almost imperceptible shift, but it carried a wallop. “We McGuire boys have what my mother calls ‘tunnel vision.’ Although she says I have the worst case of it out of the five of us.”
“What does she mean?”
Maddy’s own voice sounded far away because the sensations were beginning to drown out everything else. Her fingers drifted over the nape of his neck, the strands of his hair sifting tantalizingly between them. She swallowed hard and licked her lower lip as all of the words went out of her head.
Tunnels? Visions? What were they talking about?
It took her a moment to realize that Ronan had stopped walking. He held her tighter against him, and those eyes remained pinned to hers, the bluish-green conjuring up images of the ocean back home. Her heart thundered in her chest, and she fleetingly wondered if it would burst right out of her rib cage. Maddy stopped breathing when Ronan flicked his gaze to her mouth and then back again.
There was heat there and unmistakable desire, and Maddy burned beneath the weight of it.
“Once we set our sights on something we want,” Ronan rasped, “we don’t quit until we get it.”
She wasn’t sure if he bent to her or she reached for him, but the end result was explosive. Ronan’s mouth covered hers, and with a strangled groan, she opened to him immediately. His tongue sought entrance and lashed along hers with swift, furious strokes. Maddy’s arms tightened around his neck as she met his greedy kiss with one of her own.
Devoured—that’s how she felt—and she couldn’t get enough.
Ronan’s large hand cradled her head as he kissed her deeply, and she reveled in the wonderful warm expanse of his chest. The side of her breast molded against those muscles that grew harder with each passing second. It didn’t matter that they were in the middle of Central Park in broad daylight or that anyone in the area might see them making out like a couple of teenagers.
All she could think about, see, or feel was him, and Maddy was lost in the rush.
Something tugged on them persistently, almost like a child yanking at a parent’s sleeve, and Ronan slowly broke the kiss. He suckled her lower lip but didn’t loosen his hold on her. Then he rested his forehead against hers. They stayed that way for a second, puffs of white from their hot breath mingling in the cold air between them.
A flood of conflicting emotions rushed through Maddy as she looked into Ronan’s eyes. Guilt. Lust. Comfort. Longing. Sadness. Need. Fear. Betrayal.
“It’s too soon.” Maddy’s eyes fluttered closed, and she cupped his cheek with one hand. “I’m sorry, Ronan. I-I don’t know if I’m ready for—”
“How’s your ankle,” he asked abruptly.
“Huh?” Maddy flicked her eyes open. “M-my ankle?”
That was the last body part she was tuned into at the moment.
Did any scene have you crying or laughing (or blushing) while writing it?
I loved writing the scene when they wake up together on Christmas morning in the cozy little cottage. Their relationship has taken a significant turn from friendship to far more. I loved writing this moment because Maddy was completely relaxed and happy.
Ronan’s firm, naked body spooned against Maddy’s within the warm cocoon of the soft, thick layer of sheets and blankets. The room was dim, the early light of Christmas morning just beginning to break through and announce the day. An unfamiliar but welcome sense of peace greeted Maddy as she took note of each spot where Ronan’s body met hers. She sighed and nestled deeper into his embrace, enjoying the weight of his leg as it draped possessively over hers. His chest hair rasped lightly against her back and his muscular arm tightened, pulling her even closer, his hot breath fanning across her shoulder.
“Morning,” he murmured. Ronan pressed a kiss to her cheek and hugged her against him. “Merry Christmas.”
“It certainly is,” she whispered.
“Did Santa bring you what you wanted?” he teased. “Great sex with one of the NYPD’s finest.”
“Who says that’s what I asked for?” She peered at him over her shoulder. “I did get a lovely pair of pajamas, but somebody kept me naked all night long, so I never got to wear them.”
“Well, I wanted an apple pie, but someone got distracted and didn’t finish it.”
“Cut it out.” Maddy giggled. “I can still bake it this morning before we go over to the main house. I did have enough of my wits about me last night to put everything in the fridge.”
“I know.” He tickled her belly. “I loved watching you walk around naked with only the moonlight covering you. I think you do some of your best work in the kitchen.”
“If I recall correctly, you told me once it was your second favorite room in the house.”
“After last night, the kitchen’s moved into first place.”
“You are too much,” Maddy said, laughing.
She elbowed him playfully, but he pinned her arms and hugged her before blowing a raspberry against her throat. The silly gesture sent them both into a fit of laughter as he continued. She rolled toward the edge of the bed, trying to escape his tickle torture, but was greeted by Bowser’s big, furry face.
“Get her, Bowser.”
Before Maddy could protest, the bloodhound leaped up and licked her face in one big, slobbery pass.
“Hey,” she said with a laugh. She wiped off his wet greeting and tried to push the overeager canine off the bed, but his big paws remained on the edge. “No fair. That’s two against one.”
Ronan, buck-ass naked, straddled Maddy and pinned her arms over her head. The sheet had fallen away during their tussle, leaving her breasts exposed to his hungry gaze. It didn’t take long for the mood to go from teasing to tantalizing. Maddy arched her back, and Ronan’s eyes widened as the rest of his body hardened against hers.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters?
The Thanksgiving dinner scene. It’s Maddy and Ronan’s first real date and when Maddy begins to open herself up to Ronan on a deeper level.
“What’s running through that beautiful head of yours?”
“I was just thinking what a nice Thanksgiving this has been,” she said. That wasn’t exactly a fib, more like stretching the truth. “Not the most traditional, but then again, I’m not a big one for traditions.”
“No?” He eyed her skeptically. “You don’t have any traditions?”
“Not really. Well, at Christmas, I usually make an apple pie from scratch. My mom always whipped one up when I was a kid, and then after she died, I took over the job. It was a way to keep her close to me, I guess. She had that Better Homes and Garden Cook Book, the one with the red-plaid cover that resembled a picnic tablecloth? Hers was beat up and covered in grease stains, but I still have it despite the fact that I have that pie and crust recipe memorized. Rick ate it every year, even though he hated apple pie.”
She sucked in a deep breath and held it for a second before continuing. Maddy thought it might be strange to bring up her life with Rick, but the open, accepting expression on Ronan’s face instantly put her at ease.
“Go on.” He leaned both arms on the table, as if ready to soak up every word. “It’s okay. I want to hear about it.”
“Rick and I didn’t have any family. Neither of us had any siblings. Our parents had all passed on, and with no children of our own…well…the holidays weren’t really a big deal. Besides, he almost always worked them. The other guys in the squad had families, so he would offer to take those shifts.”
“He was a good man.”
“He was.” She nodded and smiled at the fond memories. “We were both married to our jobs, which is probably why we never married each other. I never pushed for it, and he never asked. In fact,” she said with a soft laugh, “we never even talked about it. That’s funny, isn’t it? We were together for almost a decade, but not once in all that time did we talk about getting married. We lived together and had a blast.” Maddy smiled and quietly said, “I guess that was enough for us.”
Ronan studied her intently and nodded slowly. Silence hung between them for a moment or two, and she was relieved not to see a look of pity in his eyes. Instead, there was acceptance and understanding.
At the moment, she was pretty thankful for that.
“How about you?” she asked, brightly, desperately wanting to keep the mood upbeat. “Enough about me and my sad stories. Tell me about the McGuire traditions.”
“Alright. Thanksgiving usually involves an enormous amount of food. Football on the television while Mom cooks. Then after dinner but before dessert, my brothers and Dad and I play a game of touch football that typically turns into tackle. Then, during dessert, we all go around the table and say what we’re thankful for.” Ronan picked up his wineglass and took a healthy sip. “So how about a little McGuire tradition tonight? What are you thankful for, Mads?”
“You first,” she said quietly.
“My family, that’s always at the top of the list, and our good health. I’m thankful Gavin and Jordan found their way back to each other.” Ronan’s gaze flicked from his wineglass to her mouth before traveling up to look her in the eyes. His voice was quiet and steady and sent a shiver over her flesh. “I’m also thankful that I’ve gotten to know you better, Maddy Morgan. Your turn.”
She debated how honest she should be, but staring into his earnest, handsome face, she knew he deserved nothing less. A man like Ronan—one driven by duty, honor, and loyalty—earned far more than some prepackaged response from her.
“To be honest,” Maddy began slowly, “if you had asked me this question a few months ago, I don’t think I would have had an answer. Losing Rick and the grief that came with it almost swallowed me up. Hell, I had to move everything to try to get away from it, to shake it off. But you know, leaving Old Brookfield last year wasn’t what helped me start to move on.”
“What is it, then?”
“You,” she said softly
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
I’d tell Ronan to take a deep breath and relax. Everything will work itself out.
I’d tell Maddy to let go of her grief and guilt. If she clings to the past, then she’ll be putting limits on her future.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
I’m writing book 1 in the Dragons Rising series. This is a spin off of my Amoveo Legend series and focuses on the Dragon Clan. I’m also writing the second book in my Princes of Hell series, LUCIFER: Demon of Pride. If all goes well, that should be released in late Sept. or early Oct.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Print copy of Brave the Heat (The McGuire Brothers) by Sara Humphreys (US only).
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He could be the man to rescue her
Big city K-9 cop Ronan McGuire loves women, loves his dog, loves his job-but when old flame Maddy Morgan moves into his jurisdiction, he can’t think about anyone else. Ronan knows she’s way out of his league, but he’s determined to help Maddy live life to the fullest.
In more ways than one
With tragedy in her past, Maddy has immersed herself in work and swiftly made a name for herself in the hot New York City real estate market. She’s looking for safety, not love, but Ronan McGuire is as persistent as he is sexy, and his crooked smile is hard to resist. But all other concerns are wiped away when Maddy goes missing and Ronan and his bloodhound K-9 partner are tasked with finding her and bringing her home.
Meet the Author:
Sara Humphreys is the award winning author of the Amoveo Legend series. The third book in the series, Untamed, won two PRISM awards―Dark Paranormal and Best of the Best. The first two novels from her Dead in the City series have been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award. Sara was also a professional actress. Some of her television credits include A&E Biography, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns and Rescue Me.
She loves writing hot heroes and heroines with moxie but above all, Sara adores a satisfying happily-ever-after. She lives in New York with Mr. H., their four amazing sons, and two adorable pups. When she’s not writing or hanging out with the men in her life, she can be found working out with Shaun T in her living room or chatting with readers on Facebook. For a full list of Sara’s books and reading order, please visit www.sarahumphreys.com