Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Robin Kaye to HJ!
Hi Robin, Welcome 🙂
Thanks, Sara. I always love visiting you here!
Five things on your bucket list:
Write a book… oh, I’ve already done that.
Okay, let me think…
Sail to Australia and New Zealand (I had the chance when I was younger, but I couldn’t get my passport before typhoon season – not going is my only real regret even though I heard they had 20 – 40 foot seas the whole way and the entire crew took off as soon as they hit Fiji.)
Go helicopter skiing.
Live in Italy for at least three months.
Drive a Bugatti.
Get my pilot license.
Would you rather… have a beautiful house and an ugly car or an ugly house and a beautiful car? Why?
I would rather have a beautiful house and an ugly car because I live in my house, not my car, although there have been times I’ve driven so much, I felt as if I lived in my car. I’m all about comfort, and to me, beauty adds comfort. For the last twelve years I’ve been living in a construction site–we’re slowly remodeling a 100-year-old Victorian. Believe me, when we started it was beyond ugly and parts of it still are – my kitchen to name only one…. I’ve been there and done that. I don’t want a repeat performance.
Let’s talk about your newest release: HAD TO BE YOU
If you had to summarize the book for the readers here
After finishing his stint in the Navy and completing his masters degree Slater’s life is in transition. He is spending the next month at home helping Pop, his foster father, run the family bar, the Crow’s Nest and take care of a ten year-old girl, Nicki—Pop’s latest foster child.
Slater is determined to prove his worth and overcome his impoverished childhood. Once he puts his time in with Pop, he’s off to the Middle East with a huge contract. Not looking to get involved with anyone during his short stay in Red Hook, Slater is shocked by the intensely of his feelings as soon as he sees Rocki—the lead singer of the house band.
Rocki has made a home in Red Hook and dozens of friends. She keeps everyone at a distance, skillfully dodging questions that pertain to her past. She loves her nightly gig as the lead singer of Nite Watch—the house band. Each night she flirts with the crowd as she works through her sets never tempted to take things further. However, that changes the moment she is introduced to the sexy Slater.
When tragedy strikes Rocki’s family Pop volunteers Slater to chauffeur her home to New Hampshire. As Rocki’s secrets are revealed, Slater’s past unravels and things become volatile. Their intension passion is awakened but their inability to overcome their tragic pasts might keep them apart.
Please tell us about the characters in your book?
Rocki O’Sullivan is the lead singer of the house band and showed up in Red Hook three years ago. No one knows about her past—yet everyone thinks of her as their best friend. She’s a master of deflecting questions and no one seems to see it except Slater.
Slater Shaw finished up a stint with the Navy and his Masters degree at the best school for computer science in the country. He’s written a program for security that has been purchased by OPEC and he’s hired to implement it. The contract is everything he’s ever wanted—it will make him a very rich man. All he has to do is get through one month helping out his foster father. Once he meets his father’s newest stray, the tragic past he’s repressed comes back to haunt him.
Pete Calahan owns the Crow’s Nest and over the years, has taken in three foster sons—all grown and out of the house, and now a little girl that is supposedly his grand daughter. He’s recuperating from a heart attack and trying to figure out which one if any of his son’s is Nicki’s father.
Nicki is a ten and a half year old precocious girl whose mother dumped her on Pete six months ago. Like most kids who have been abandoned, she’s seen the ugly side of life and has always yearned for a real family. Pete and the gang are the closest she’s ever come to normal. She knows nothing about her father and thinks of Pete’s boys, Slater, Storm, and Logan as her big brothers.
As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
I always pictured Slater as a really nice guy. When I introduced him in the last book, YOU’RE THE ONE, he went from a great guy to a jerk in a split second. I remember looking at my critique partner and asking—what just happened? I had to spend the beginning of the HAD TO BE YOU explaining his bad behavior.
When I started writing Rocki I realized that she’d been in two books and yet I really knew nothing about her—and neither did her best friends? I knew she was hiding something, I just didn’t know what, and I was amazed that she could have Patrice–the biggest busybody in the free word—as a best friend and still keep her secrets.
What scene did you most enjoy writing? Why?
I love writing the ensemble cast of characters… In this scene, Slater sees his old nemesis, Frankie DeBruscio and his wife Patrice. Supposedly Frankie beat him up so often in high school because Patrice liked Slater. They’re getting reacquainted and Patrice is asking about Slater’s love life. He explains that the last thing he needs is a woman to complicate his life….
Patrice pushed her long hair behind her shoulders and nailed him with her golden brown stare. “Complicate your life? Sounds to me as if you don’t have much of a life to complicate. You’ve been gone almost ten years, and all you’ve talked about is your job. Granted, it sounds as if you’ve been plenty busy and very successful, but do you have a life? A life outside of work? It doesn’t sound as if you’ve taken much time to smell the roses.”
“Patrice, there aren’t many roses in the middle of the Arabian Sea, and since I left the Navy, I’ve been working my ass off to get through school. I’ve been busy. Smelling the roses hasn’t been an option.”
A smile spread across Patrice’s pretty face, the kind of smile that made him wonder if she knew something he didn’t, and made the hair on his arms prepare to evacuate his skin. “Well, you have a month or so to just sit back and smell all the roses you want. And don’t think I didn’t notice how you watched my girl Rocki walk away. She was sitting here with you for her entire break, wasn’t she?”
Shit. “Rocki seems very nice.”
“Of course she’s nice. She’s one of my best friends and she’s single.”
Yes, they’d established that. “She’s also Pop’s employee and since I’ll be helping out here at the Crow’s Nest and plan to be out of here come the first of the year, it’s probably best not to complicate matters.”
“Oh that’s right. You don’t need a woman to complicate your so-called life.”
“Right.” Not unless Rocki was into some very uncomplicated, hot, explosive, mind-numbing sex and could keep it on the down-low. Still, the gleam in Patrice’s eye told him she already saw too much.
“Hey, you’re both adults, and as far as I know, Rocki doesn’t like complications either. She dates, but she’s never had a long-term, relationship in the three years that I’ve known her.”
Francis wrapped his arm around his wife. “Now Patrice, keep your nose out of his business.”
Patrice waved away her husband’s warning. “What? So I want my friends to enjoy themselves. They’re both single adults and they’re both not looking for” she held her fingers up to make air quotes, “complications. I think they’d be perfect for each other. Temporarily, that is, and from the sparks shooting between them while they were tucked into this booth earlier, they’re not going to be able to stay out of each other’s pants for long anyway.” Patrice slid out of the booth pulling Frankie along with her. “You know what I always say, if you can’t beat them, you might as well just cheer them on. It’s like rooting for the Cubs—you know it’s not going to end well, but it’s always fun to watch.”
What scene was the hardest to write? Why?
I love writing scenes between Slater and little Nicki. It’s so much fun building the relationship from strangers to family. It’s a little platonic love story all on its own.
Here’s the beginning of their relationship:
After a night of too little sleep due to way too many thoughts of one particularly hot blond who had the ability to steal the spotlight while fading into the woodwork and some serious trust issues, something had woken Slater and unfortunately, it hadn’t been Rocki.
He’d finally been out for the count and now he was wide-awake. Shit. One glance at his watch and he let out a groan. It was too early to be awake. He rubbed his eyes and felt the foot of the bed dip. What the hell? There was a kid in his room. And a dog. “Nicki, what are you doing in here?” Hadn’t she ever heard of knocking? He pulled the sheet up and thanked God he wasn’t flashing her. Still, he was uncomfortable. He’d never before been naked under nothing but a sheet in the presence of a ten-year-old girl and her dog.
“D.O.G. needs to go out.”
“So, take him out.”
Her hair looked like a rats nest—curls stuck straight out from what looked like matted knots.
“I’m not allowed to take D.O.G. out by myself and Pop’s still not up for it. D.O.G. pulls too hard and it hurts Pop’s chest, and sometimes D.O.G. pulls me right over. I scraped my knee, wanna see?”
“No.” He was afraid if he’d said yes, the kid would take her pants off or something and the last thing he wanted was for them both to be without pants.
“It’s right under the hole in my jeans here.” The kid lifted her knee to show off her ripped jeans. “Skye put some stuff on it that made the stinging stop. She’s nice.”
“Mr. Francis came up before he and Ms. Patrice left last night and took D.O.G. for a walk since you weren’t around, but that was hours and hours ago and D.O.G. has to pee.”
Shit, he’d forgotten all about the mutt last night. He’d never had a dog. He knew no more about what to do with a dog than he knew about what to do with a little girl. He did have a very strong suspicion he would no longer be sleeping in the raw.
“I’d have brung you coffee—”
“Whatever.” Nicki pushed her hair out of her eyes and he looked away. How a ten-year-old, fifty-pound girl could give him the willies he’d never know.
“I would have brought you coffee but I don’t know how you take it.” She shrugged and she and the dog leaned against the bed watching him. “Storm and Logan were always nicer when I waked them up with coffee but Skye’s nice all the time. I guess it depends on the grownup, huh?” She tilted her head to the left and crossed her bony arms over her chest. “Or is it only boys who are always cranky in the morning?”
“I’m not cranky. Why don’t you and your buddy there get ready to go and let me get dressed.”
“You want me to pour you coffee?”
“Sure. I take it black.”
“No, I’m sweet enough as it is.”
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book was optioned for a movie?
Chris Pine as Slater and Julianne Hough as Rocki. I always thought Patrice looked like Beyonce so I’d love to see Beyonce as Patrice.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
Your past and your problems have a way of following you around—they’re part of you and no matter where you run, they’re always there—there’s no escape. You both need to deal with your problems. Get it over with so you can go on with your life without a cloud over your head.
It’s what’s holding them both back from really living. But then if they knew that at the beginning of the book, there wouldn’t be a book to write.
What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2014?
I just sent A LITTLE ON THE WILD SIDE – the next book in my Domestic Gods series off to my editor but I don’t have a release date yet. I’m also working on a few ideas for my next book, I’m thinking of writing Jax’s story (you meet him in HAD TO BE YOU) or possibly a few of Skye Maxwell’s brothers from YOU’RE THE ONE.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Two print copies of HAD TO BE YOU
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Rocki O’Sullivan stood center of the stage belting out one of her favorite Kirsty Maccoll songs—a little bit Latin, a little bit sexy, and a whole lot funny. She’d chosen her dress carefully with this song in mind. Short, sassy, and comfortable—a perfect combination that made a man wonder how long it would take to get her out of the dress. It worked perfectly paired with her favorite pumps, mirror platforms that picked up the cobalt blue of the shoe and added a good five inches to her already long legs. Shoes like hers had men think twice about taking them off before carrying a woman to bed.
And putting thoughts in men’s heads was one of the reasons Rocki chose most of her shoes—that and she was a total shoe whore.
The electric buzz of eyes on her was normally something she relished. But tonight something, someone had set off her heat sensor. Rocki scanned the crowd and her gaze landed on a man who threw her so far off her game, she missed the chorus. She never forgot the words. Thank God Tessa, Mark, and Kirby were singing back up and covering her ass.
Whoever he was, he seemed to have an invisible barrier around him. No one stepped into his space. He stood still, a bottle of beer in one hand, the other hooked into a belt loop.
He wore a kick-ass black leather biker jacket, scuffed black boots that’d been driven hard miles, and his long legs were tucked into tight black jeans that seemed as if they’d been tailor made to cup all his intriguing parts.
An image of him straddling a hot bike flashed through her mind. He was tall—real tall with curly chestnut brown hair that looked as if it was absentmindedly tucked behind his ears. It was too long to be respectable—but then respectability was way over-rated. On any other man the curls, which were big enough to slide three fingers through and probably hung like ringlets when wet, would look feminine, but on this guy there was no hint of softness.
He filled out his Under Armor turtleneck like a super-hero might—pecs and abs clearly defined against the hot lights that hit him, his muscles delineating the shadows and highlighting a bulge that made her mouth water.
Rocki had always liked men and was well aware that they liked her right back, but she’d never had one look at her quite the way he did. His eyes flared with so much heat if she were naked she wouldn’t need a tanning booth.
Mark nudged her, bringing her mind back to the song.
She sang to the bad boy as if he was the only man in the room.
He didn’t move to the music. He didn’t move a muscle. The only thing that moved were his eyes. His gaze scanned her body trailing heat from the tips of her toes to her tits.
It was a little disconcerting. She was used to guys checking her out but no one ever looked at her with such intensity that it was all she could do to get through the song without forgetting the words.
She checked the playlist taped to the floor. The last song was about being propositioned by several different men and the next was no better. When she sang about watching a man shower, it was him she pictured. When she sang about picturing her telephone number, his brow rose in question. Oh My God. This guy was good and so hot, even though she never dated, she’d date him in a Brooklyn minute.
She was relieved to get back behind her trusty piano for the next song—of course it was about telling a man that if he wanted her, where exactly he could find her. She never realized before that the entire playlist was a come-on of ginormous proportions.
She looked up from the piano and he’d moved right into her line of vision. She sang about wondering about him—all kinds of questions ran through her head about the man who could carry on a conversation with a quirk of his lips, the rise of a brow, and the way his Adam’s apple bobbed when he swallowed.
Wendy, a cocktail server, stopped to ask for his order and it didn’t look as if he’d even heard her. He never took his eyes off Rocki and she wasn’t able to look away except to check the play list.
After remembering the next song, she wondered if it had been too long since she’d dated. She flirted a lot, but she made it a point to always go home alone. Still, when looking at the playlist with a critical eye, she had to admit it looked as if it was written by a horny woman. It was too late to do anything to change it. Mark was already tuning his guitar to go into the next song. The lyrics of which practically begged a man to take care of her in all ways possible.
Rocki’s face heated and she sang about being full of desire—which she was, but damn, she certainly didn’t want to give Mr. Rough-and-Ready the wrong impression. She needed to get off the stage and find out who this guy was.
She signaled the band to play one more song before they took a break. Mark drew a question mark with his guitar head and she answered it with a shrug. Just great. The next song was Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better. She threw herself into the intro and closed her eyes, blocking him out while she sang only to imagine him lying naked and tangled in the sheets.
Rocki finished the song and didn’t take her fingers off the piano keys until quiet filled the bar. “I’m Rocki O’Sullivan and we’re Nite Watch. We’ll be back.” She was just glad Pete wasn’t sitting at the bar keeping track of her breaks.
The rest of the band lit off the stage and one of the bartenders switched on the music.
Rocki took a fortifying breath—she couldn’t sit there hiding behind her piano forever. When she got the courage to look, the guy had disappeared. It was probably for the best. She rose, grabbed her water for a refill, and went down the steps—there was no jumping off the stage in her heels. When she hit the floor, an arm reached out from the hallway to the left and gently pulled her in. She should have felt threatened, but she didn’t.
“Looking for someone?” His deep voice was as soft and smooth as top-shelf whiskey.
Her eyes rose and met his. Damn, he was a big one. In her heels she was pushing six feet two and he had at least a couple of inches on her. He looked as broad as he was tall. Solid. Hard. Dangerous—with a twist of naughty. The naughty part came on loud and strong in the quirk of his full lips. Lips a girl could sigh over and wish she had a matching pair. On anyone else they’d look girly—but on him, like a beautiful red apple, they just made her want to take a bite.
“I wasn’t looking for anyone. But it looks as if you are.” He stood so close she caught a whiff of the sea on him mixed with leather and yummy man. He didn’t wear aftershave but that only made her want to stand closer and drink in his scent.
He leaned against the wall and looked her up and down, just like he had while she was on stage. His gaze lit her up like a sparkler on the top of a cake and she was dessert. No one had ever done that to her and she wasn’t sure she liked it.
“I wasn’t looking for anyone either—then I saw you.”
The you came out on a purr and she felt the rumble in her chest. “Is that a good thing?”
“You tell me.”
Rocki wasn’t the nervous type, but this man looked at her in a way that set her hormones jumping, her heart pounding, and made her wonder if he had X-ray vision. She thanked the gods she wasn’t wearing granny panties. His intense scrutiny had her trying to cover herself even though she was fully clothed. “I think it’s too early to tell but it has definite possibilities.”
“I’m more interested in probabilities. What’s the probability of you letting me buy you a drink?”
The last place he expected to find lasting love was back in his hometown.…
Slater knew tragedy from a young age, but with the support of his foster family, he turned his life around. Now, back from a stint in the Navy, he’s packed up his motorcycle and returned to Red Hook to help to run the family restaurant—a job that comes with a tantalizing upside. Her name is Rocki.
Flirty, sweet, and outgoing, Rocki brings in crowds as the lead singer of the house band. And although she’s unable to resist the charms of this intense bad boy, she refuses to open her heart to him. Until a family crisis shatters Rocki’s easygoing demeanor, exposing something from her past she’d always hoped would stay hidden.
Robin Kaye was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge next door to her Sicilian grandparents. Living with an extended family that’s a cross between Gilligan’s Island and The Sopranos, minus the desert isle and illegal activities, explains both her comedic timing and the cast of quirky characters in her books.
She’s lived in half a dozen states from Idaho to Florida, but the romance of Brooklyn has never left her heart. She currently resides in Maryland with her husband, three children, two dogs, and a three-legged cat with attitude.
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