Hi K.M. Jackson and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Insert Groom Here!
Thank you so much for having me here at Harlequin Junkie. What a pleasure and an honor it is.
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
Insert Groom Here is the story of straight-laced PR exec Eva Ward who is jilted by her fiancé on live morning television. Once this happens Eva has a meltdown and makes the mistake of saying she’ll still have her planned televised wedding on the allotted day and all she has to do is Insert Groom Here. We get to follow Eva as she goes on her many studio set up dates all under the watchful eye of sexy Aidan Walker who is steadily falling for Eva himself.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
“I can’t marry you.”
Eva Ward knew words were being murmured over her shoulder, but for the life of her she couldn’t quite make them out. The red light above the camera transfixed her, and Kevin’s voice sounded like it came from somewhere far away, as if from down a long corridor.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- I came up with the idea for the story while listening to a church service.
- Reality and morning TV is a big inspiration for me and it was a joy to do the research.
- K.M.’s favorite date night is low key dinner and a movie so thinking up wild dates was a fun departure and a stretch for the author.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
Eva Ward was a lot of fun to write. I wanted to write a woman who on the outside was all buttoned up and seemed to have it all together but if you went just slightly beneath the surface she was anything but. I hope I captured both sides of her. I also hope that I showed how with my hero, Aidan he was perceptive enough to see beneath that surface.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
This is a fun question. Wouldn’t all writers love to see their books made into movies? There are quite a few scenes that I enjoy in Insert Groom Here I think a fun one to see played out would be the one where Eva goes on a yoga date and Aidan has to watch while another guy puts her body in different positions. The two of then spend a lot of time in the book in these type of positions fighting their urges while surrounded by other players.
Here is a bit from that scene:
Aidan was pissed. He was pissed and growly, and if that smooth, silky gigolo ran his hand up Eva’s thigh one more goddamned time, he was going to go over there, kick his ass, and hang him by the balls, using his own effing silks. How could he ever have thought this type of date was a good idea? Thought it would be amusing, no less. Showed what he knew about fun family programs.
He watched as indifferently as he could while the good-looking charmer took Eva through a series of sensual moves clearly better suited for the bedroom than for the mixed company at hand. Things started out well enough with the usual sun salutation and downward dog, which they did separately on their respective mats. But then the guy had the nerve to step out of his lane, come over, and lift Eva by her trim waist and smoothly place her in the makeshift scarf swing that hung above her, taking the fabric and easing it gently around her buttocks. That was when Aidan crossed his arms and locked them tight around his chest to hold them in place for the safety of all involved, and he hadn’t uncrossed them since.
Aidan watched as Miguel told Eva to trust him as he put her into something called a “monkey pose” and asked her to lean back into him—way back, letting her head fall all the way to the ground so she ended up supported only by her crossed legs and the silks wrapped around them. Aidan’s jaw dropped at the sight of her heart-shaped behind on display in such a way. It only got worse when Miguel told Eva to trust him further and had her spread her legs wide, while he held her balanced and stood centered between them. With a gentle push to her outer calves, she swung forward and back toward his groin. Aidan couldn’t help it and groaned aloud at the sight as he finally unlocked his arms and ran a frustrated hand through his hair.
Louisa shot him a look, and he gave her one right back. Screw it. How in the world did this guy get into the mix? He was billed as a yoga instructor, not some new age holistic gigolo. To calm himself, Aidan considered all the heads he planned on rolling over this particular pick. Shit. Dammed if that didn’t reek of something his father would do. But he didn’t like seeing Eva pawed over in such a way, and even worse, he hated that he cared as much as he did about the whole situation.
But care he did.
After their talk, he had felt even more twisted than before. And worse, he was more attached than ever, doing what he told himself not to do. Never to do. When you got emotionally attached to a subject, your judgment was off, and here clearly his judgment was off. He closed his eyes briefly and then decided to look at the screen instead of at the scene in front of him. At least he could let the HD version take the place of watching up close and give him a bit of emotional space.
Be objective, he told himself as he watched Miguel bring Eva back up. She smiled, and her soft brown cheeks took on a rosy glow. He smiled to himself. Despite it all, it was nice to see her looking happy. This was the first date on which he had witnessed her smile like that, the first on which she had that glow that he now knew came from deep within, and if the silky swirler did that for her, then he had to accept it and be happy for her. He knew her. The smile he saw now wasn’t her fake “we’re rolling” smile, and it wasn’t the smile she gave him either, the one that was genuine and real but hidden in the way back, behind the depths filled with that hidden sense of regret that she thought he didn’t detect. Seeing her now—smiling, laughing, and genuinely having fun while swinging with this dude—he felt happy for her, though it ripped at his core in a way he wasn’t prepared to deal with.
Eva stepped out in front of the silks and was led by Miguel to go behind them and lean forward, front first, into a downward dog but with her feet in the air. Aidan’s mind instantly went to how he’d love to have her in that position himself. As if reading his thoughts, she looked his way for a moment right before her head went forward. He gave her a grin he knew she couldn’t see from where he was behind the monitor. But still her mouth quirked up at the corner anyway, as if they were in mental sync, and he couldn’t help but shake his head and make a silent promise to her to send her flying as she’d never flown later that night.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I hope that people take away from reading Insert Groom Here feelings of joy and hopefulness, about love and finding love in unexpected places and ways.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2017?
I’m currently working on ideas for my next series. Shh… it’s top secret. And coming up next I have book 2 in my Unconventional Brises Series called To Me I Wed which is the story of Lily Parker and Vincent Caro. Lily is a total hoot who sends Vin’s life into a tailspin when she chooses his hot restaurant to throw her wedding to herself. I adore her and her story! It’s out in May of 2017 and available for pre-order now.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Print copy of INSERT GROOM HERE by K.M. Jackson
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: In Insert Groom Here Eva Ward goes on quite a few dates to find Mr. Right Now from surfing to rock climbing, please share your most unconventional date.
Excerpt from Insert Groom Here:
So she turned and banged her fists against the wall without a care for her hands, then regretted it as hot pain shot up through her arm. “Freaking hell!”
Add that to her list of dumb moves of the morning. Funny, though not even, it never looked that painful on TV. “Ugh!” She let out a hard, un-lady-like grunt. The thought of TV instantly brought the scene she’d just escaped from back to her mind. Who the hell breaks up with someone on national TV? But, worse, who flips out like she did?
Eva sucked in a breath. What was she thinking? She never lost her cool and went off like that. At least not so publicly. If there was one thing she knew, it was the value of keeping her true emotions hidden. But Kevin’s nonchalant shrug came back to the forefront of her mind, and once again without thinking, Eva went for the wall.
Like Kevin, the wall won.
“Damn. It!” Eva looked down at her red, quickly swelling knuckles and winced. And damn you, Kevin. You piece of crap, spineless betrayer! If he wanted to do the breakup in a public place, why couldn’t he pick a Starbucks like a normal human being?
Eva felt a hot tear fall and swiped it away. She didn’t even know why she was crying. In the moment, it certainly wasn’t over love lost or any such nonsense. She didn’t have time for that type of bull. Not that she didn’t care for Kevin. Sure she did. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t have put so much time and energy into him and their relationship. But now that she thought about it, she guessed it was the betrayal and, worse, the embarrassment that hurt so much. She was sure she didn’t deserve it. In their time together, she’d done nothing but raise Kevin’s low-performing stock.
Sure, she knew she came off at times as a tad cold and had a reputation for being somewhat demanding, and yes, there were some who referred to her as straitlaced, perhaps stuffy for her age. The word uptight may have been bantered around. And probably she should have beat Kevin to the breakup punch when he had the nerve to call her a prude because she wouldn’t go all in for some of his kinkier tie-me-up antics in bed. But what did he know? She could get plenty kinky and have just as much fun as any woman if given the right incentive, but lately he’d been barely any incentive at all. The funny, kind, attentive, okay maybe he was a little too into video games guy she’d first met had somehow morphed into this pompous, pocket-square-wearing asshole the world saw dumping her this morning. So the last thing she wanted to do was jump through some sort of fetish hoops when, both inside and outside the bedroom, he was a total bore. But still, the fact remained that she’d stayed and had invested years of time and energy in Kevin for just this moment. Bailing was not an option.
As her mother often said, “Bailing is never an option.”
Eva sucked in a breath and stilled when the low hum hit her ears. Her cell phone was on VIBRATE in her purse on the glass coffee table, and it was currently pulsing so much the whole purse did a little shimmy. It was her mother. Without even looking, Eva knew it had to be. Valerie Ward was probably sitting with either her finger or her assistant’s finger pressed hard on the REDIAL button at that moment. Suddenly Eva had the desire to kick the table, just to hear the glass smash. But of course, she didn’t. She couldn’t. She had to pull herself together. Get some control here. Her moment of going full-blown nutter was done and over.
Instead, Eva ignored the phone and rested her forehead on the wall, forcing herself to take slow, deep breaths. She’d deal with her mother soon enough. She had to come up with a plan. Or they’d come up with one together. Either way she had to get a handle on what had happened this morning and get started on her own damage control. She’d handled worse for her celebrity clients, and she was a nobody, so this should be easy to handle with a bit of rug sweeping. She just had to step back and look at things objectively.
A lump lodged in her throat. Still it made no sense. She and Kevin were perfect—despite the kinkiness non-compatibility factor—and she had invested the right amount of time and energy into the relationship. More than enough, actually. They were right on track with her plans. And at the age of twenty-eight, she was precisely on schedule. On schedule to be Mrs. Kevin Rucker Esq. before age twenty-nine. Add a couple of years of them being an “it” couple about town and then, bam, the first child by thirty-three and then baby number two by thirty-five. There would be no bar hopping, awkward setups by friends, or code-worded online profiles for her in her mid-thirties. She was getting her shit together. Well, to hell with you, Kevin, for totally messing this up.
Thoughts of the gorgeous monogrammed towels she had pre-ordered for their registry with their initials—ERK, in script—on Pima cotton came to her mind. Damn. She really wanted those towels. Had bought into the whole stupid fantasy of them.
“Well, screw you, Kevin, and your sorry-assed I love yous!” Eva yelled as she swiped once more at an errant tear and stomped her foot. Tendrils of her shoulder-length brown hair came undone from her chignon and fell into her eyes.
Then she heard it. A slight shuffling of feet that caused Eva to freeze, then turn around. And there he was. Right in the doorway, capturing her every sad and desperate move, stood a very tall man, and that was a lot for her to say, since she was five nine without her heels. His skin was a burnished tan, mostly natural, though some, she could tell, came from being outdoors in the sun, his worn T-shirt showing the tan line around his muscular biceps. She looked down, and said tee was tucked haphazardly into well-fitting faded jeans. When her eyes came back up to his face, the sexy scruff on his jaw showed he hadn’t taken time to shave that morning, or maybe the past few mornings, before coming to work. Work. That was the worst part of it all. His work. Because slung over the top of this man’s very broad shoulder was a TV camera, and in that moment it was trained directly on Eva in all her overly emotional meltdown glory.
“What the hell are you doing?” Eva inwardly cringed as she heard her own voice come out in an unflattering high shriek. “Haven’t I been humiliated enough?”
Just silence from T-shirt camera dude for one long beat, and then another, as Eva stared at him open-mouthed, waiting for some sort of answer or apology, or at least for him to put the blasted camera down, anything but this blank, emotionless stare.
And then he did it. He finally moved. The hunky camera guy’s left brow went up, and at the same time so did his shoulders. They went up, and then they slumped right back down again. Eva took a step back, bumping into the coffee table behind her. Did he just shrug? Hunky freaking body-hugging tee, faded-jeans, perfect-stubble camera guy looked at her and shrugged. What the total hell! She was having a perfect, full-on meltdown, and he shrugged.
This was her second dismissive shrug of the day. Flashbacks of Kevin’s casual shrug mere moments ago washed over her, along with even worse images of Kevin’s eyes lingering too long on other women’s legs in short skirts or paying special attention and laying on that old Kev charm with any woman with boobs over a C cup. When she’d catch him, he’d shrug then too, in a “Well, boys will be boys” kind of way. Well, she’d had enough of this bullshit. This was her last shrug of the day. She wasn’t taking it anymore.
Sucking in a deep breath, Eva smoothed her hair as best as she could, then tugged down, straightening her disheveled skirt. She reached toward the table and slung her purse carefully over her shoulder before finally straightening her pearls.
Then, churning on pure hate, Eva walked toward him. She couldn’t see his full face, since it was half hidden behind the camera that was taking in her supposedly private meltdown, but she did get a closer look now at the challenge in his one sparkling, heavily lidded, dark brown eye. She thought she may have seen that eye, that sexy frame once or twice wander in and out of the studio, but she wasn’t sure. Letting her own eyes wander, Eva also caught a hint of a tattoo peeking out from beneath the cuff of his tee. When she looked back to his full lips, they twitched up at one corner.
“You find me amusing?” she asked, holding tight to the reigns of her control. “Cool. It’s nice to see someone getting a chuckle out of this day.” Too bad it is at my expense, she thought. Just like Kevin was probably laughing now. Just like all of The Morning Show’s viewers were probably laughing too.
Eva’s blood boiled over at the hitch of that too-pretty lip and the smug look in his one dark eye. And then everything seemed to go dark. Her world turned to pinpoint tunnel vision as she continued to be propelled forward, only seeing that sparkling eye of his and that twitching lip. And as if on autopilot, Eva bit her own lip, gave it a light lick. At the last moment, she put her freshly manicured hand up to the front of the camera’s lens and watched as Mr. Hunk quickly shifted his head from behind the camera and looked at her, hitting her with the full force of his masculine beauty. Bam! Smooth skin, dark slashes of brows, a strong square jaw, and those full, generously curved lips made her mouth instantly water. She saw him begin to open those lips in protest over her hand on his camera, but before he could get a word out, Eva moved in and covered his mouth with her own, capturing him in a hard, searing kiss.
His lips were at first firm and unyielding, but after a few seconds she felt a shift when they went soft and pliant as her pressure was returned. Then he surprised her by kissing her back. Instantly, Eva was swept up in a haze. It was a sensual fog of her own making, and in that moment, she felt herself swept up on a soft ocean breeze as her body seemed to awaken and come to life like never before. A slow wave of dangerous pleasure washed over her, and then— wham—the wave broke as if hitting a sharp rock when awareness struck, bringing Eva back to herself.
She pulled away, making a quick assessment of herself and the situation.
Quirking her own lip in a half smile, she looked into camera guy’s dark-chocolate-colored eyes and saw his expression change from amused to confused, and as Eva looked deeper and briefly lower, she could see he was aroused. Her gaze shifted. He still held tight to the camera high on his broad shoulders, though.
That freaking camera, the cause of all her humiliation. Well, that and Kevin, of course. Kevin and his shrug. But Kevin was not there, so Eva focused on camera dude and gave him what she hoped was a saucy wink, then swiftly raised her right knee, slamming it hard and fast between his widespread legs.
For a moment she felt bad. Only for a moment.
That one went out to all the shruggers.
It was satisfying. And now she was amused by the sound of his weak yelp as he doubled over in pain and made his way to the floor.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Eva Ward has won a lavish wedding on the nation’s hottest morning show and can’t wait to kick off her
happily-ever-after in style. Too bad her fiancé backs out on-air—and cameraman Aidan Walker makes sure her private meltdown goes viral, down to the last couch-kicking moment. The only way Eva can save face and keep her perfect nuptial plans on track is to star in a new “find-a-groom” reality segment. But finding Mr. Right in one month means ignoring her handsome new producer—none other than Aidan himself—and getting their instant, exasperating attraction out of her system…
Eva soon finds there’s a lot more to Aidan than freewheeling charm. But one glimpse of his caring side can’t make up for off-camera politics, Aidan’s own secrets—or Eva’s fear that they’re too different to ever trust each other. So it’s time for her to flip this script, write twists no one will see coming—and risk her heart to get the real thing…
Meet the Author:
A native New Yorker, K.M. JACKSON has won RWA NYC’s Golden Apple Author of the Year Award and is a daily advocate for #WeNeedDiverseRomance. She currently lives in a suburb of New York with her husband, twins, and a precocious terrier named Jack that keeps her on her toes.
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