Spotlight & Giveaway: Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra

Posted October 12th, 2014 by in Blog, Spotlight / 56 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra to HJ!

Hi Virginia and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Carolina Blues!

Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:

CBluMore Dare Island! Sexy, taciturn police chief and quirky writer find sexual healing. But to make it last, they’ll have to let go of the past.

Please share the opening lines of this book:

Lauren Patterson entrenched herself in the corner table of Jane’s Sweet Tea House, barricaded behind her laptop, a latte, and a Glorious Morning muffin.
Facing a blank computer screen wasn’t nearly as terrifying as confronting three masked men with guns, she told herself firmly. She hadn’t frozen then; there was absolutely no excuse for her to be paralyzed now.

What is it about the Outer Banks area that made you want to write a series set in it?

I’ve been in love with the North Carolina coast since my husband took me there on vacation years and years ago. His dad was stationed at Camp Lejeune, which is why the books have that USMC connection. We went there with our kids, and we still sneak away every chance we get.

Of course, the real search for our “happy place” is about more than setting. It’s our longing for a place to belong. For roots. For family. And for love.

Do you think there’s a common trait or a je ne sais quoi that your heroes must have?

They have to be stand up guys—not just sexy, although, wow, Jack Rossi is that. But down-in-the-bone decent.

What, in your mind, distinguishes this contemporary series from others out there?

My reader mail (LOVE my readers!) tends to be about the sense of place, the feeling of family, and the realism of the characters.
Some of my favorite writer people in the world are writing contemporary series right now: Susan Andersen, Robyn Carr, Laura Florand, Kristan Higgins, JoAnn Ross, Jill Shalvis…I could go on. I shared this question with Jesse Hayworth (Harvest at Mustang Ridge, part of another great series), who laughed and said, “That’s like asking what distinguishes Lindt, Ghiradelli and Godiva–they’re all flavors of the same awesomeness that is chocolate! Dare Island’s flavor, for me, is a solid family backbone flavored with hints of sea salt and spice.”
So there you go. ☺

The First kiss…

With another woman, he’d figure she’d pulled out the alcohol to relieve her nerves, to ease the awkwardness of sex with a near stranger. But Lauren didn’t look nervous.

Maybe the wine put a gloss of civility over the whole thing. Maybe she was making a point to him or to herself that he wasn’t just here for the sex.

He felt a twinge of . . . something. Conscience? Which was stupid. He’d been honest. They both had.

I’m telling you how it is.

You’re probably ready for a rebound relationship.

They were both going into this with their eyes open.

But her hands on the corkscrew weren’t quite steady. So maybe she was a little nervous after all.

Tenderness uncurled inside him.

He came up behind her as she poured the wine and rested his hands at her waist, his thumbs riding that half inch of warm, exposed skin. She jolted, gripping the bottle, and then released it to relax against him, her muscles loosening, yielding. He loved that, that she yielded. To reward her, to indulge himself, he bent his head to her throat. Her hair brushed the side of his face. Her scent was warm and musky like sex. Opening his lips, he pressed his mouth to the soft hollow of her neck. Her shudder rocked them both.

His fingers tightened on her waist. He had enough control to do that, to keep his hands from sliding to her breasts.

His erection lodged against her bottom. She made a soft, assenting sound. Turning in his hold, she twined her arms around his neck and pulled his head down for her kiss.
And hello, yeah, she could kiss.

What scene had you pulling your hair out to write?

It took me forever to nail that opening scene. Lauren, my heroine, has been telling herself she’s fine for so long that she almost convinced me. I really had to break her down to understand what she’d gone through. You can read the whole scene – and listen to an audio clip! – here.

If your book was optioned for a movie, what song would play during the opening credits?

Lady Antebellum’s “Ready to Love Again.”

What traits in your main characters do you most admire and why?

They’re both smart, pragmatic, and caring – to different degrees. And because he’s a cop and she’s a psychologist with clinical training, they’re both really good at head games.

What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2014?

More Dare Island! I just turned in a novella, CAROLINA HEART, which will be out in an anthology, ASK ME WHY, next year.

And I’m working now on CAROLINA DREAMING, about a Marine buddy of Luke’s and the owner of the island bakery. It promises to be a fairly angsty, very romantic read!

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

Giveaway: 2 Print copies of CAROLINA BLUES

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: I’d love to hear about your favorite series right now! Are they set somewhere you’ve been? Or someplace you’d love to visit?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jack drove through the center of town toward the bakery. Fifteen months ago, he’d been a plainclothes detective with an unmarked car. Driving the big, department-marked SUV made him feel like a beat cop again, like giant leap back.

But he had a chief’s responsibilities now. Bottom line, the shield on the door, the lights on top, were a visual deterrent to crime. For every tourist speeding through town, for every island kid with too much time on his hands, the official-looking vehicle and uniform served as a reminder.
Slow down. Think twice.

Jack parked the SUV near the road, where it could be seen by passing motorists. Gravel and oyster shells crunched underfoot as he stepped out into the lot.

He climbed the steps to the porch, anticipation tightening all the muscles in his abdomen, like he was about to take a punch to the gut. Like he didn’t need coffee, his heart already pounding.

The over-the-door bells chimed. He stood a moment silently inside the doorway, eyes adjusting to the light.

Jane was coming out of the kitchen with a tray, a smudge of flour on one flushed cheek, pink and white and delectable as one of her own cupcakes. He looked past her toward the corner table, Lauren’s table. Empty.

She wasn’t there.

The unnamed hope in his chest collapsed, leaving him deflated.

Jesus Christ. He wasn’t a fourteen-year-old boy anymore, hanging around some girl’s locker after class, waiting for her to show.

Even at fourteen, he’d never had to wait. Females had been coming on to him since first grade when Tina Zanelli offered to show him her underpants if he’d be her boyfriend. He couldn’t remember how that had worked out. He might have taken her up on her dare. She could have delivered on her promise. More likely, he’d said something rude
and the opportunity had been lost.

Proving he hadn’t learned a damn thing in thirty years. What the hell had he been thinking, busting Lauren’s chops the other day, making that crack about her running away?

Relationships were supposed to get easier when you got older. More supportive or sophisticated or something.

Maybe Renee was right. You only see what you want, she used to say. You don’t think about what I need. You don’t know how to make a woman happy.

His jaw set. He’d known how to make her come, though. For a while, that had been enough.

“You look like you could use a cookie.” Lauren’s voice broke into his thoughts.

He turned his head and she was there, her dark hair slipping its messy bundle, the stud on the side of her nose winking at him like a tiny exclamation point: Here I am!

Something inside him contracted like a fist and then relaxed. “You sound like my mother.”

Her brows rose in question.

“Ma believes most of the world’s problems can be solved with food.”

Comprehension lit her eyes like laughter. “Well, it’s a place to start.”

He met her gaze. Held it. Today she wore a cuff shaped like a snake with jeweled eyes, coiling under her hair, whispering in her ear. Tempting her. Tempting him. Where else was she pierced?

A rush of heat washed through him. He wanted a lot more from her than a cookie.

He took a deep breath. Slow down. Think twice.

Book Info:

Jack Rossi is Dare Island’s new police chief. The laid-back North Carolina community is just what he needs to recover from a rocky marriage and a big-city police department. He’s learned his lesson: no more high-profile women or high-pressure jobs. The last thing he wants is an unconventional alt girl rocking his world.

Grad student Lauren Patterson made headlines when she kept a bank robbery from going bad. She’s fled to Dare Island to clear her head and focus on writing her story. However, sexy Jack Rossi is a distraction that’s too hot to ignore, and it’s igniting an affair too combustible to resist—or quit.

But when their pasts come looking for them, Jack and Lauren find themselves fighting for the future they deserve, whatever the price.
Book Links:

Meet the Author:

Virginia KantraNew York Times bestselling author of the Dare Island novels, including Carolina Home, Carolina Girl, and Carolina Man, and the Children of the Sea series, Virginia Kantra has won numerous industry awards, including Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award and two National Readers’ Choice Awards.
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56 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra”

  1. Rachael

    My 2 favorite series are Susan Mallery’s Fools Gold series and Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor series. I would love to visit the town of Fool’s Gold if it were a real town. I am new to your books. I can’t wait to discover your Dare Island series! Thank you for the chance to enter your giveaway.

  2. Trudy Dowling

    At the moment I am enjoying the Off Series by Sawyer Bennett. It takes place in New York, New Jersey and Oklahoma so far. I have no desire to go to any of these places.

  3. Marija

    Beautiful bastard series, I have to admit I fall for NYC setting and the sexy men of Manhattan 🙂 But I would like to have a fav series with more “natural” setting, like a cabin in the woods, an island etc.

  4. Terri Shortell

    The series I’m reading now is Sandra Hill’s A Deadly Angel. It’s her Vangel series and I love it. The stories are set in several places but the main house is situated in Pennsylvania in Amish country. I haven’t been there but would love to go. This book sounds great. Thanks for the review and giveaway.

  5. Vicki Clevinger

    I have 3 series I love. I rreally want to visit the towns where they are set but their fictional. The Virgin River series by Robyn Carr. The Fool’s Gold series by Susan Mallory and The Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Mary Preston

    I’m reading a murder mystery series set in Melbourne, Australia. So much fun to read.

    PHYRNE FISHER MYSTERY by Kerry Greenwood

    The TV show is a hoot too.

  7. L.A. Remenicky

    My favorite series at the moment is Kristen Ashley’s The Burg series. It takes place in the midwest – I can jump in my car & drive there in a couple of hours.

  8. Marianne W

    I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood series — don’t think Caldwell is as it is pictured in the series. 😎

  9. Kate Sparks

    I like the small towns… like Virgin River, Fools Gold, Lucky Harbor… and their continunity of characters! Thanks!!! for adding another!

  10. BethRe

    I’m all over the place with my reading I can’t really think of series that I’m reading right now

  11. Emily Stemp

    i have 2 favorite series. first one is Linda Leal Miller Creed series and McKettricks. and Robyn Carr thunder point series

  12. Jessica Alcazar

    The top series I have read in a while is Susan Mallery’s Fools Gold. And oh YES do I want to live there. If not JUST so I can meet the mayor! LOL She has got spooky, mad, know it all skills! LOL

  13. Jen B

    My favourite series is Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series. It’s set mostly in San Francisco, I have been but only for a few days 10 years ago, and 13 years ago.

  14. Brianne

    I’m loving Jill shalvis’ Lucky harbor and an old Harlequin Medical set in Penhally Bay

  15. Rita Wray

    I love the Cedar Cove series by Debbie Macomber. I think it would be a great place to visit.

  16. MM

    I have to say that generally speaking whatever series I am currently reading is my favorite. Right now I’m ready the latest in Mata Banks’ KGI series so that’s my favorite. And they just got to Paris which send like a not bad place to visit. 😉

  17. Joan V.

    My two favorite stories/series settings is JoAnn Ross’ Shelter Bay and Jill Shavlis’ Lucky Harbor. I would love to live and love in either one of these communities. I would love to add Dare Island to these small town communities.

  18. Hope

    Re reading Pennyroyals /Julie Anne Long… and Grace Burrowes Scottish series…and frankly the latest with Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgins….I mean , you write them, I buy them. Looking forward to this latest by Kantra!!!!

  19. Cathy P

    I like historical books that are set in Scotland. I have never been to Scotland, but would like to go one day.

  20. CelineB

    The Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis is one of my current favorites. I’ve never been to Washington but I’d love to go sometime.

  21. Judy Goodnight

    Right now I’ve been enjoying small town life in both Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series and New York’s wine country with Kristan Higgins’ Blue Heron novels. I’m looking forward to reading your Dare Island books.

  22. TrishJ

    I love this series! I also love the Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis. I am a small town kind of gal, so this series is perfect for me.

  23. Diane

    I love reading about the Oregon coast (of course in fiction the sun is shining) Jo Ann Ross, Christina Skye, and Robin Carr, Lucky Harbor Jill Shalvis, Upstate New York wine country (discovered just before Kristan Higgins books) and California Gold Rush Towns. For some reason I don’t like reading about Cajun country or Louisiana. I’d love to read a series set in Truckee, Donner Lake, Lake Tahoe.

  24. Diane

    Oops! Totally forgot the beaches of North and South Carolina. Loved being there a few years ago.

  25. Terri C

    Virgin River, Lucky Harbor, Blue Heron, Dare Island and the Barefoot Series by Roxanne St.Claire. I love them all!

  26. Colleen C.

    Oh I have enjoyed numerous series… some placed in imaginary towns, but I love the descriptions Nora Roberts’ puts into bringing her books set in Ireland to life.

  27. orchid7

    My favorite series at the moment is the Charlie Davidson series by Darynda Jones. It’s set in New Mexico- which I’ve never been to. I just love the humor in them- it’s more about the characters than the location for me with that series.

  28. Diane Sallans

    I recently read Susan Wiggs Lakeshore Chronicles series set in the Catskills of New York – sounded like a lovely place.

  29. mrsmac19

    I really Like Lucky Harbor by Jill Shalvis & Fool’s Gold by Susan Mallery. I’ve never been to Washington State or N. California, but I’m sure they’d be lovely to visit. Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  30. Kathleen O

    I am in Cricket Creek, KY with LuAnn McLane’s Sweet Harmony. I love the small town atmosphere where everybody gets involved with the daily life of the citizens who live there. I read a lot of series based on small towns for this reason.. Yours is a fav of mine too.. I love the Southern atmosphere too..

  31. Martha B

    I’m reading 3 different series. Dare Island, Lucky Harbor (Jill Shalvis) and Kristan Higgins’ Blue Heron (the winery in upstate New York). I’ve been to the Outer Banks (it’s a magical setting) and to upstate NY. That’s it!

  32. Kai W.

    I love the setting in Sons of Chance series. I just love the setting in Wyoming especially near Teton Mountains.

  33. Cari White

    I agree with Rachel,,, Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold and Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor… Oh, and Gena Showalter’s Lords of the
    Underworld and the spinoff!

  34. kateivan

    I’m currently reading Alice Clayton’s Cocktail series, which is set in San Francisco, a wonderful city I’ve visited many times as I reside in northern California.

  35. agatha007

    I love Dare Island Series, Virgina is an excellent writer. She loves the Outer Banks, I’ve only visited it once but it is beautiful. I believe writers writers writers what they know,

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