Spotlight & Giveaway: Until There Was You by Jessica Scott.

Posted October 9th, 2012 by in Blog, Spotlight, _Romance@Random / 36 comments

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author of ‘Until There Was You’ Jessica Scott to HarlequinJunkie

Jessica, firstly I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and all the Men and women in Uniform for your bravery, for putting your life at risk to make our lives here easier! Thank You SO MUCH.

Honestly, my life has never been at risk. I’m not a hero, I just wear the uniform. Thanks for your support. It means the world to all of us.

For all of my readers who may not be familiar with your work, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Jessica: I’m an active duty army officer, mom, wife, author and all around crazy person. I just put on a smile most days and hope the world doesn’t notice the crazy.

It’s a long jump from Soldier to Romance writer, what got you started writing and why the romance Genre?

Jessica: I had a battalion commander tell me once that everything is about relationships and she’s right. I write romance because, well, it’s about relationships. Relationships between the hero and the heroine between the hero and their friends and everything in between. I guess I’ve always written but back in 2007 when I was away from my family for the first time since my kids had been born, I just started writing one day in class and never really stopped.

 You are still an active duty army officer, how do you balance being a soldier with being a full time romance writer?

Jessica: There is no balance, honestly. Whatever happens to be hot that day wins. For example this past weekend, my last book was due. I sat but in chair for about 30 hours and got it knocked out. It needed to get done so I did it. Other days, being a mom wins. It just all depends. I always try to spend time with my kids before they go to bed. It’s the little things like reading to them every night that are really important

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?

Jessica: Um, is that a trick question? I usually start with an idea and a name and everything builds from there. I’d like to get a better grasp on stuff to do before I start writing. Might help with the chaos that is my writing style.

How hard was it to write your first romantic scene?

Jessica: I honestly don’t remember. I know I had a hard time with the word co–is this blog 18+ or…never mind. I think the hardest part for me was to learn that the love scenes needed to come from the heart of the characters. First few I wrote were very ahem mechanical.

Before we talk about your newest release please tell us about your debut book Because of You.

Jessica: My debut BECAUSE OF YOU is about a warrior sent home from Iraq and the woman who walks through the darkness with him. Jen is a breast cancer survivor and thus has her own scars. Her intimate knowledge of having to overcome something she had no control over was key to Shane’s giving himself permission to heal. It released last November and was the book that launched the return of Loveswept as a digital imprint for Random House.

What sparked the idea for ‘Until There Was You’, did you know you were going to write this book while writing Because of You?

Jessica: I remember being in class back at Fort Benning with these two people who just could not stand each other. I wanted to write a romance where the loathing was real but then morphed into something stronger.

Evan & Claire are actually the third book I ever wrote, obviously in multiple iterations but they’ve always kind of been part of my world, if that make sense.

3 words that best describe Captain Evan Loehr and Captain Claire Montoya

Jessica: For Evan I’d say: stubborn, dedicate, steadfast

For Claire I think: loyalty, headstrong and determined

 If you had to pick your favorite scene in the book…

Jessica: Oh that’s a tough one. Hmm. How about this one:

“Yeah.” His hand was rough and strong as her fingers slid into his. “How did you get the last name Montoya with hair like that?”

“I have no idea.” Oddly self-conscious, she tucked her red hair behind one ear. “So you’re Reza’s commander?”

“For the last two months.”

“And your first order of business is dealing with sexually transmitted diseases?” He scowled fiercely and Claire laughed out loud, despite her best efforts not to.

“Glad you think it’s funny.” His voice rumbled over her skin, holding the promise of dark fantasies and primitive yearnings. It had been too long since she’d been with a man. Being around him made her want to do reckless things.

“I’ve never been a commander, but I hope I never have to deal with what you’re dealing with right now.” Evan looked so disgruntled, she smiled. She didn’t know him. She shouldn’t be amused by his discomfort, but the situation was ridiculous. Plus, the conversation came with the added bonus of locking down her hormones. Nothing said sexy like diseases, she thought dryly.

He leaned forward, bracing his elbows on the low wall next to her hips and dragging his hands over his face. “I can’t believe that this is what I’m dealing with. Not weapons training. Not running patrols or shooting bad guys. Sexually transmitted diseases.”

“Well, commander, what’s your plan for dealing with the rash of diseased penises in your formation?”

 

Who would play your Evan & Claire in the movie version of your book? And why?

Jessica: I love the idea of Emma Stone playing Claire. I think she’s awesome. And the original idea for Evan came from Eric Bana.

What’s next? Do you have any other upcoming releases?

Jessica: My next book, BACK TO YOU publishes in September 2013. After that, we’ll see where the muse takes me!

Jessica thanks so much for stopping by, it’s been a pleasure.

 

Giveaway: Jessica will be giving away copy of BECAUSE OF YOU AND UNTIL THERE WAS YOU to ONE  lucky winner! In addition FIVE lucky winners will win an e-galley copy of UNTIL THERE WAS YOU

 

To Enter Giveaway: Complete the Rafflecopter form below and post a comment to this: I’d love to hear about a book that left you unable to think about anything else. What book gave you a book hangover.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PROLOGUE

Fort Hood, Texas

July 2005

Captain Evan Loehr was having a bad day. Granted, it could have been worse. It could always be worse. But as he pulled his Stetson out of its carrying case and dusted it off, he contemplated the consequences for blowing off the mandatory fun of tonight’s hail and farewell. He was not in the mood. Not in the least. Not when he was eight weeks out from leaving on his third deployment and was up to his neck in maintenance issues and, well, other issues that he’d never in a million years thought he’d have to deal with as a company commander.

There were things he simply did not want to know about his soldiers.

But his battalion commander said they were going to the hail and farewell, so Evan was going to the hail and farewell. The brutal Texas summer sun blazed overhead, baking the earth and melting the asphalt beneath his shoes. He hoped like hell there was air-conditioning in the bar.

More, he hoped none of his more illustrious soldiers decided to attend tonight’s shindig. He’d been in command for less than a month, and so far at least one of his troopers had spent a night in jail every single weekend.

Stepping into the bar, he walked into a blanket of darkness, tinged with cigarette smoke and a bouncy country song blaring at him from all sides. The dance floor was surrounded by a low wall and illuminated with flickering strobe lights. He couldn’t believe they were having a military function at a bar where there would be civilians.

Normally military functions like these were in separate rooms at somewhat classier establishments, not in rowdy country bars. He wasn’t entirely sure it was a good idea, but then again, he wasn’t in charge of planning the event. Evan made his way to the bar, needing something a hell of a lot stronger than a beer to get him through tonight.

*   *   *

“You realize it looks bad for you to hang out with your old enlisted buddy, don’t you?”

Claire Montoya looked up at her oldest friend, Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli, whom she was no longer supposed to be friends with now that she’d earned her commission two years before. “You’re the only person—officer or enlisted—in this brigade I know. I don’t really care what it looks like.”

“Yeah, well, my commander might have something to say about that if he gets the wrong idea. The guy must have been potty trained at gunpoint.”

“That uptight, huh?” Claire grinned and sipped her beer. She’d been in the Reaper Brigade Combat team for all of three weeks, and Reza was the one person she trusted to have her back. “Where is your illustrious commander, anyway?”

“Working, as always.” Reza grinned, and it was pure evil. “You’ll never guess on what.”

Claire braced for the worst. She could only imagine. “Do I want to know?”

He tossed back the rest of his beer. “Apparently, there are eight new cases of chlamydia in our company. So the battalion commander has tasked him to find out A, where they came from, and B, what he’s going to do to prevent any more outbreaks.”

Claire choked on a swallow of Dos Equis that went down the wrong pipe. It was a long minute before her lungs were clear and she could breathe again, let alone talk. “That is wrong on so, so many levels,” she said when she could speak.

“Speak of the devil.” Reza turned and pointed his beer at someone behind Claire. She twisted on the edge of the wall that circled the dance floor, prepared to meet someone starched and rigid. “Evan Loehr, Claire Montoya. You two mingle. I’m getting another beer.”

She was going to kill Reza. He was forever trying to get her to hook up the way he did: with all the discretion of a dog in heat. She stared daggers into his back as he walked off. He never quite understood why she wasn’t into dating. Her track record with men sucked, and she was not about to add to that losing streak tonight. She was getting ready to deploy with the brigade in less than two months. She didn’t need a one-night stand with one of the company commanders to complicate things.

Not that he didn’t look like the perfect candidate for a one-night dance with the devil. If she did that sort of thing. Which she didn’t. But still, this man didn’t look remotely the way she’d expected he would. His shoulders were wide and solid, and beneath that starched white shirt, his chest looked powerful. She could easily imagine those arms wrapped around her, holding her tight while he . . . Down, girl. She might not have moved from her spot on the low wall surrounding the dance floor, but her hormones had snapped to attention, that was for sure.

The way Reza had described him made her imagine a man who would show up in military uniform despite the Texas casual dress code.

He seemed out of place in this smoky, seedy bar. This guy seemed stiff and rigid, as if he’d rather be anywhere but here at this moment. The top button of his shirt exposed the strong line of his throat, revealing dark hair and a glimpse of smooth skin and carved shadows. Beneath the First Cav Stetson, his hair was black and cut close to the strong line of his neck. There was confidence in the way he moved, a raw power that wrapped around Claire like the smoke in the bar and drew her close.

Claire stuck out her hand, needing something to distract her from her deviant thoughts. Small talk ought to do the trick. “Nice to meet you. Evan, right?”

“Yeah.” His hand was rough and strong as her fingers slid into his. “How did you get the last name Montoya with hair like that?”

“I have no idea.” Oddly self-conscious, she tucked her red hair behind one ear. “So you’re Reza’s commander?”

“For the last two months.”

“And your first order of business is dealing with sexually transmitted diseases?” He scowled fiercely and Claire laughed out loud, despite her best efforts not to.

“Glad you think it’s funny.” His voice rumbled over her skin, holding the promise of dark fantasies and primitive yearnings. It had been too long since she’d been with a man. Being around him made her want to do reckless things.

“I’ve never been a commander, but I hope I never have to deal with what you’re dealing with right now.” Evan looked so disgruntled, she smiled. She didn’t know him. She shouldn’t be amused by his discomfort, but the situation was ridiculous. Plus, the conversation came with the added bonus of locking down her hormones. Nothing said sexy like diseases, she thought dryly.

He leaned forward, bracing his elbows on the low wall next to her hips and dragging his hands over his face. “I can’t believe that this is what I’m dealing with. Not weapons training. Not running patrols or shooting bad guys. Sexually transmitted diseases.”

“Well, commander, what’s your plan for dealing with the rash of diseased penises in your formation?”

Evan groaned and buried his face in his hands, then took a long pull off his own beer. Reza emerged from the crowd and clapped him on the shoulder. “I already took care of it. I sent Ramirez to the clinic to pick up a case of rubbers. They’re sitting on the counter in the company ops.”

“I should make them an inspectable item and have every soldier keep one in their wallet,” Evan grumbled. Claire laughed so hard, she almost fell from her seat on the wall.

Evan gave her a pointed look.

“I’m sorry,“ she said, trying to stop laughing before she permanently damaged his pride. “But you should see your face.”

He took a pull off his beer. Claire watched his throat move, enthralled by the motion of sleek muscle and dark skin. “I feel like I should have a formation and make the platoon sergeants demonstrate how to put on a condom the correct way.”

“As one of your platoon sergeants, I’ll be the first to refuse that order,” Reza said before taking another drink.

Finally Evan laughed and the sound twisted Claire’s insides, teasing away the tension and the fatigue and the bone-crushing pressure of being the new girl. Something warm unfurled against her heart, like hot steam rising from a hidden vent.

Something that told her she needed to stay far away from the source of the warmth.

 

*   *   *

 

The formal portion of the evening was about to get started, and Evan found himself regretting that. He was enjoying himself immensely, a feeling both surprising and unexpected. Claire Montoya was proving a sexy detour for the night, and while Evan didn’t do one-night stands, he was not above taking her to a quiet corner of the bar. Her mouth drew him. She had the kind of wide, full lips that were made for kissing.

He wondered how his big platoon sergeant knew her, but couldn’t drum up the energy to ask. He simply hoped he wasn’t spending the evening flirting with one of Reza’s castoffs. It hadn’t taken him long to learn that Sergeant Iaconelli spent his free time curled up with a bottle or a woman.

“So other than unprotected sex, what do you think about being a commander?” Claire asked. Her breath kissed his skin as she leaned close enough so she didn’t have to shout.

Evan leaned in, fighting the urge to lift her hair away from her ear. “I love it. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. But it’s the most stressful, too.”

“You don’t seem like you relax very often.”

He shrugged, sipping his beer. “I don’t. There’s not a lot of time for relaxing when you’re getting ready to take a company downrange into combat.”

“Guess they’re getting ready to do the introductions.” Claire tipped her chin toward the stage. “Guess I need to get ready to smile and wave for the crowd.”

Evan frowned. “You’re a soldier?”

She smiled, and her green eyes glittered in the smoky bar. “Yeah.”

There was a sinking feeling in Evan’s stomach. “What rank are you?”

She frowned. “Does it matter?”

“Yes.”

She grinned, and it was wicked. “What, afraid you’ve spent the evening flirting with an enlisted woman?”

“I don’t date army women as a rule.” Evan breathed out sharply. “Dirt and dust on deployments aren’t exactly great conditions for love and sex.”

“Pretty stiff restrictions on letting yourself relax, huh?”

“Everything in my life comes with conditions,” he said softly. “Besides, you don’t look like you’d be in the army.” He felt a flush creep up his neck as he heard the rudeness of his own words, but Claire didn’t look offended. “Sorry. I didn’t mean that how it sounded.”

“Relax. I’m a captain.” She looked up at him, studying him quietly. “You should see your face. You were really worried, weren’t you?”

Evan couldn’t get the tight knot in his chest to relax. She had stunning red hair and green eyes cast in dark, smoky shadows. A body that took Evan to a dark and primal place. Her dark red hair tumbled down her back and she looked like a woman who spent more time at the mall than on the weapons range. He couldn’t picture her in uniform.

Thankfully, she didn’t seem to care that he had been worried about her rank.

“I’m prior service. Did a stint as enlisted before I went to Officer Candidate School down at Fort Benning.” She bumped her shoulder against his, her eyes sparkling. “You really need to relax. It’s mandatory fun, and you don’t look like you’re having any.”

He turned his attention to the dais, where the brigade commander was introducing new folks to the rest of the brigade.

Her hand on his forearm dragged his attention away from the stage. He glanced down at her fingers, long and slim against his skin, burning him. “This is a really big deal for you, isn’t it?”

“No, just a surprise.”

A big surprise. One that would complicate things tremendously.

“Captain Claire Montoya.” The brigade commander called Claire’s name, and she hopped off the wall without a backwards glance at him. “Claire hails to us from . . .”

Evan stopped listening, lost in his own thoughts, which were a hell of a lot more than unprofessional. He waited until she was up on the stage before he melted into the dark safety of the bar, putting a stop to what would have been a very big mistake.

 

*   *   *

 

It was better this way. Claire had learned a long time ago that work relationships—hell, any relationship that involved her—never really worked out. She palmed her car keys and walked out of Ropers into the intense Texas heat. The sun had gone down hours ago, but the temperature was still set to broil. Sweat trickled down her neck and her hair clung to her scalp.

She rounded the corner of the bar and clicked the key fob, her car lock chirping in the sweltering heat. But that wasn’t what caught her attention.

Evan Loehr was talking to Reza. Arguing, more like. Frowning, Claire hurried over, knowing she had no authority to intervene between a company commander and his subordinate and prepared to do it anyway. But before she crossed the wide gravel parking lot, Reza snatched his keys and dropped them into some cute brunette’s hands, stalking off.

Evan saw Claire approaching before she could veer off and pretend she’d been walking toward her own car.

“What was that all about?” she asked, tucking her hands into the back pocket of her jeans.

“Work.” She could hear the lie as it rolled off his tongue. “You always walk up to strange men in dark parking lots?”

She raised her eyebrows. “Yes, it’s a regular habit of mine. How did you think I earn extra money?”

Silence, thick and sweaty, hung between them for a long moment. Then a slow smile spread across Evan’s mouth, followed by an easy laugh. “You’ve got one hell of a way with words.”

“I try.” She pointed to her car over her shoulder. “Guess I’ll see you at work?”

“Probably not. I don’t get up to brigade very often.”

“On purpose?”

“Yeah. It isn’t on my top-ten list of places to hang out.”

She laughed. “Yeah, all we do at brigade is come up with good ideas to screw with you down in the companies.” She studied him, the dark shadows cast beneath his eyes, the tight lines around his mouth. Tension wound its way around her, radiating from him with the same power and confidence he wore like a shield. “Well, then I won’t see you around.”

“No. Probably not.”

Hesitant, unsure of her reception, she took a step forward. Close enough that she could see the faint shadow against his jaw. “Do you ever relax?”

His only movement was a slight flare of his nostrils. “No.”

She took another step. Reached up and placed her hand on the solid wall of muscle over his heart. “Never?”

His lips parted, just a hint. “No.”

His scent was dark and arousing. But making this big man go still and quiet? Powerful. He was wound so tight, tension burned beneath her touch. “So you think this would be a mistake, don’t you?”

“Yes.” His voice was rough.

“Do you ever make mistakes, Evan?” she whispered, her mouth a breath from his. “Mistakes get people killed.” His words traced over her lips, sending a hot spike of arousal racing through her blood.

“Hmmm.” It was nothing to brush her top lip against his. His chest stopped moving beneath her palm.

His mouth opened, until she could feel his breath mingling with hers. Her blood sang with thick and heavy sensual need. His tongue flicked against hers, an open, hot invitation.

 

*   *   *

 

Evan had no idea what the hell he was thinking, but this woman had struck a chord inside him, awakened a hunger that refused to be ignored. Kissing her was a mistake, a sensuous, gorgeous mistake.

He gave over to the temptation he’d fought earlier and lifted his hands to her neck, sliding his palms over her skin to thread them into her hair. It was warm silk against the back of his hands, a raw, simple pleasure.

Her mouth opened beneath his, her tongue sliding against his, signaling a salient desire that penetrated his defenses and made him no longer care that she was in his brigade. There were no rules against them doing any of this—whatever this was—but he didn’t date at work. As he lost himself in her taste and touch, he seriously reconsidered that personal rule. He captured her quiet gasp against his mouth and felt the locks turning on the chains that held his restraint.

It was a long moment before Claire eased back, nibbling on his bottom lip before she broke the tentative connection between them.

“What was that?” he asked, his voice rough and unfamiliar to his own ears.

She smiled. “A mistake.” She swiped her thumb over his bottom lip. “But one I enjoyed.”

She eased back until he was forced to release her. Regret that this would go no further settled in his belly. “I’ll see you around, Evan.”

He watched her go, the slight sway of her hips more alluring because she did not try to affect any sensuality. She simply walked, cloaked in confidence and sexual appeal.

He let her go. Because Evan Loehr knew all about mistakes, and he wasn’t about to make one with Claire Montoya.

 

From the back cover:

Jessica Scott returns with an all-new contemporary eBook original romance, following last fall’s release of her sizzling debut novel Because of You.

He plays by the rules, she’s not afraid to break them. Now these two strong-willed army captains will prove that opposites attract . . .

A by-the-book captain with a West Point background, Captain Evan Loehr refuses to mix business with pleasure—except for an unguarded instance years ago when he succumbed to the deep sensuality of redheaded beauty Claire Montoya. From that moment on, though, Evan has been at odds with her, through two deployments to Iraq and back again. But when he is asked to train a team prepping for combat alongside Claire, battle-worn Evan is in for the fight of his life.

Strong, gutsy, and loyal, Captain Claire Montoya has worked hard to earn the rank on her chest. In Evan, Claire sees a rigid officer who puts the rules before everything else—including his people. When the mission forces them together, Claire soon discovers that there is more to Evan than meets the eye.

He’s more than the rank on his chest; he’s a man with dark secrets and deep longings. For all their differences, Evan and Claire share two crucial passions: their country and each other.

 

 

You can order UNTIL THERE WAS YOU at these ebookstores or wherever ebooks are sold!

B & N | Amazon | Powell’s| iBookstore

 

Author BIO:

Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats, three dogs and two escape-artists hamsters, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She has commanded two companies, served in Germany, Korea, Fort Hood and Iraq, and been lucky not to get fired. She is a terrible cook and an even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

You can find her online at

Website: http://www.jessicascott.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jessicascottauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jessicascott09

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5131118.Jessica_Scott

 

 

 

 

36 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Until There Was You by Jessica Scott.”

  1. orchid7

    A “book hangover”? Anything by Darynda Jones. Her snarky, witty characters are so funny they have me laughing for days afterwards.

  2. kyla whitley

    For me, it would be anything written by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She has a special ability to make you laugh and cry in the same book. Love her! 😀

    • Jessica SCott

      Do I get kicked out the romance club if I confess that I’ve never read SEP? I only just learned this year that SEP meant Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Where’s a good place to start with her?

      • Sara

        Jessica, You just can’t go wrong with SEP no matter what you pick.
        It Had to Be You is currently on sale on Amazon $0.99 this is such a steal of a deal.
        I loved reading Heavens, Texas; 5. Call Me Irresistible; Match Me If you Can.

  3. Dian Setyarini

    Anything by Suzanne Brockman. I love her character, how her character headstrong, loyal with order and with their partner :). So touched me cause many wives can’t feels about waiting their husband die or not.

  4. Fiona Marsden

    What was the question again. I got distracted by the cover. I got a book hangover from an Amy Andrews medical I read a few weeks ago. How to Mend a Broken Heart. Such a beautifully sad story it still chokes me up when I think about it.

  5. Chris Mead

    I love Rosanne Bittner’s books, her Wildest Dreams, gave me my first book hangover! Thanks for your service to our country and thanks for a chance to win your book!

  6. amel armeliana

    Hi Jessica, the prologue of your book sounds really interesting, and the cover is a “hot” one also *grin*
    Book that made hangover and couldn’t put it is Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout. So in love with the characters.

    Thank you for this giveaway.

  7. Sheryl N

    I think that the book that I can always reread and I find myself thinking about is the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh. I love her books!!

  8. sue brandes

    I would say the book I am reading right now. Jessica’s guide To Dating On The Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey. Very fun book and I can’t hardly put it down. Love your book cover. Sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway.

  9. Joanne B

    Molly Harper’s How To Flirt With a Naked Werewolf, Jennifer Crusie’s Anyone But You, Bet Me, and Fast Women and finally, anything by Diana Palmer. These books always stay with me for days after I read them.

  10. Olivia Tan

    i think that the book that I can always reread and I find myself thinking about are guild hunter series by nalini singh and in death series by jd robb
    thanks ^^

  11. Lisa Hutson

    Jessica, thats your favorite scene?? LOLOL You are hilarious. So many, hot, intense, crazy, funny scenes. haha
    Love your books, your storytelling. Its my pleasure reading them.
    Thanks!!

  12. Olga

    I think Michele Hauf and Caridad Pineiro books! But I also have lots of books and authors whom I love to read, it’s very hard to choose!

  13. Shannon G.

    It’s gonna sound like I’m kissing up but after reading Because of You I kept going back. I just kept processing the wounds of the two main characters. And of course Evan’s rehabilitation left some lingering laughs. Another example for me would be Lorelei James’ Rough Riders series.

  14. Adisty

    Book hangover??? Definitely Kristen Ashley’s books. I fact this week I all over again her series for the second time. Even after the second time I read her books, I still crying (not shed drop of tears but like bucket of it), I also still melting from the awesome scene and wonderful words.

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