Hi Paige and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Treason in Norfolk (X-OPS: The Unclassified Files)!
To start off, can you please tell us a little bit about this book?:
The world of X-OPS and the Department of Covert Operations (DCO) has always been complex and diverse. It’s much bigger and detailed than most readers could ever imagine by reading the established books. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of smaller stories and plot arcs that I created to round out the world and give depth to the characters. While this “behind the scene” stuff never made it into the canon books, I shared a lot of it through various newsletters and other venues. That left readers wanting more and wanting to get their hands on fully published versions of these smaller stories. Treason in Norfolk is the first of these novellas and answers one curious fan’s question of “Are there other DCO shifters out there working we don’t know about?” In this case, it’s the story of Eden Bristow, a feline shifter, and Sergeant First Class Travis Dempsey, a Special Forces soldier home on leave who finds himself pulled into her world of weird and dangerous involving spies and blackmail, secrets and treason.
Please share your favorite lines or quote(s) from this book:
Here are a few lines from the opening action scene from the book,when Travis first sees Eden, whom he tags as “Ninja Girl” since he doesn’t know her name yet. What can I say? I adore kick-butt women…and the men who love them!
The woman touched down on the pavement light as a feather, her bare feet barely making a sound. Damn, she was beautiful—both in the classical sense and in the chicks-who-can-fight-are-hot kind of way. That was probably a wildly inappropriate thought to be having right then, but Travis refused to be held responsible for what his id had to say on the subject.
For a few long heartbeats, the bad guys and suits froze. Then Ninja Girl spun around to face Big Guy and growled. Seriously. She frigging growled!
And that was kind of hot, too.
What inspired this book?
This story was originally part of Cat Johnson’s SEAL-based Kindle World. I blended my X-OPS concepts into her SEAL world and had some fun with it. Since hubby is retired Army, I had to go with a Special Forces hero instead a SEAL, so that’s where Travis came from. Which was perfect because the heroes in the military heroes in my X-OPS Series are…you guessed it…Army Special Forces. When the whole Kindle World fell apart, I took that as an opportunity to refocus the story more on its X-OPS foundations, but one thing I kept from the original story was the location—Norfolk because Eden’s sister is marrying a Navy guy. The next thing I know, I’m trying the titles of each X-OPS novella to the locations of the stories, i.e. Treason in Norfolk.
How did you ‘get to know’ your main characters? Did they ever surprise you?
This is going to sound crazy, but when I first start writing a story, I really don’t know who the characters are. Sure, there’s a shape shifting heroine and a Special Forces hero, but I don’t know them. Their personalities (will they be funny, snarky, serious, quiet, etc.) sort of comes out as I start writing the first few scenes. In the case of Travis and Eden, I quickly learned that they tend to be rather snarky, quick to laugh, and have immediate chemistry. I was surprised at how easily Travis accepted Eden’s shifter nature, too. That’s not always the case in my paranormal stories, but I appreciated it since it allowed me to focus on other parts of their developing relationship instead of getting over that initial hurdle of kissing a girl with fangs and claws.
What was your favorite scene to write?
I didn’t know this was my favorite until I read it a few times. This scene starts as a conversation about family, but quickly takes on a flirty tone. I love the easy way that Travis and Eden talk together. It’s sexy without any of the games people like to play.
Eden shrugged. “I think Mom is a little worried about Emily marrying a man who’s going to be gone on float more than he’s home, but she just wants Emily to be happy. That’s the most important thing. And the possibility of grandkids in the near future, of course. She’s itching to get her hands on some grandkids ASAP.”
Travis chuckled. “Sounds like my mother. She’s on my sister and me all the time to settle down, get married, and have kids—not necessarily in that order. What about you? Your mother pressuring you to have children?”
Eden smiled. She couldn’t believe she was having this conversation with a guy she’d just met, but Travis was easy to talk to. “She tries. But I have to let you in on a little secret—the idea of having children scares the life out of me. I can barely take care of myself, much less a kid. The thought of being completely responsible for another little human being makes me want to run away as fast as I can.”
His mouth quirked. “I’m guessing that would be pretty damn fast. I’ve never seen a woman run so fast in bare feet and a dress.”
She flashed him a smile. “You should get a look at how fast I am out of it.”
His chocolate-brown eyes darkened to a sexy smolder. “Now, that’s something I’d like to see.”
“What, me running without a dress on?” She wasn’t sure why he’d be impressed. Maybe he had a thing for Olympic sprinters. “It’s not that big a deal.”
That sensuous mouth of his twitched again. “I don’t know. The idea of seeing you without anything on—running or otherwise—seems like a big deal to me.”
Eden thought she might have blushed, but she wasn’t sure. She’d meant running in a T-shirt and shorts instead of a dress. He, on the other hand, clearly meant seeing her run around completely naked. She didn’t hold it against him. She’d walked right into that one.
“Travis Dempsey, are you flirting with me?” she asked.
“Trying to,” he said. “Unless you considered that last comment rude, sexist, or inappropriate, in which case, I’m not flirting at all.”
She laughed and shook her head. “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like you before in my life.”
A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, drawing her attention there and making her wonder what it’d be like to kiss him.
“Funny you should mention that, since I’m absolutely, positively sure I’ve never met anyone like you in my life before, either,” he said.
What was the most difficult scene to write?
This is the opening scene in the story, where we learn that Travis’s parents are divorced. Worse, they tend to do things simply to get under each other’s skin, even though they’re in town together for their daughter’s graduation from college. It was a difficult writing this scene because I’m all about the romance (it’s why I write in this genre!) so it’s hard even thinking about people who hate each other enough to be spiteful like Travis’s parents.
“That was about as much fun as going to the dentist.”
Sergeant First Class Travis Dempsey snorted at his soon-to-be brother-in-law, Craig Copeland’s comment as they stepped outside the restaurant. He couldn’t disagree. Hell, he’d rather fight a dozen terrorists at the same time with his bare hands than have dinner with his parents again. Maybe that seemed harsh but after the past two hours plus of torture he’d endured, he didn’t care. If he didn’t love his little sister, Gwen, so much, he would have been mad as hell he’d burned up leave-time from the Army for this. But it wasn’t every day she graduated from college with an engineering degree. Besides, his Special Forces unit deployed so much he had more than enough vacation time saved up.
Travis glanced at his dark-haired sister, expecting her to be pissed at Craig, but instead, she simply looked frustrated.
“Why the hell can’t Mom and Dad be in the same room without trying to kill each other?” she demanded, her dark eyes a mix of hurt and anger. “I thought having dinner with both of them to celebrate my graduation would be good practice for the wedding, but I guess not.”
“Maybe we should elope,” Craig suggested, a hopeful expression on his face.
Travis could have told Craig that wasn’t going to happen even before Gwen shot her fiancé a glare.
“You guys have a while until the wedding,” Travis pointed out, coming to a stop a few dozen feet away from the restaurant. The place was right off the beach and the sidewalk was packed with tourists looking to chill after a day in the sun. “By then, Mom and Dad will have forgotten the other is currently dating someone half their age just to annoy the hell out of them.”
The look Travis’s sister gave him suggested she didn’t believe that any more than he did. More likely, their mother would have traded in her semi-pro golfer boyfriend for someone wealthier while their father moved on to a woman even younger than the twenty-four-year-old he’d shown up with tonight.
Would you say this book showcases your writing style or is it a departure for you?
This story is definitely quintessential Paige Tyler—action, suspense, thrills, and smoking romance with a perfect blend of paranormal and realism. This is what my readers expect when they pick up one of my books, and I always try and deliver.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
This story was written for the diehard fan of my X-OPS series, giving them a peek into the stuff going on in between the canon books. For those looking for them, there are Easter Eggs all over the place, designed to make you laugh and say, “I know exactly what that means!” but at the same time, I’d like to think I’ve crafted a book that a brand-new reader can pick up and immediately fall in love with, characters that pop, and a plot that drags you in. It’s the best of both worlds.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
WOLF INSTINCT, the next book in my SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team Series releases June 25th. This story features a hunky British werewolf hero and a kick-butt FBI agent heroine, so I’m super excited about it!
I’m currently working on the first book in the new STAT: Special Threat Assessment Team (aka Supernatural Threat Assessment Team), which is actually a spin-off from the SWAT: Special Werewolf Alpha Team Series. Think Mission Impossible with werewolves and you get the idea!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Signed Print Copies of the first two books in the X-OPS Series (Her Perfect Mate and Her lone Wolf) US Only.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: You meet someone new and are immediately drawn to them. But very quickly—like the first or second date—you learn they’re a shifter. Suddenly, you question if any of this is real. How is this possible? Is everything you thought you knew about this person a lie? Can you really trust a person like this? So the question is do you stay or walk away?
Excerpt from Treason in Norfolk (X-OPS: The Unclassified Files):
If I’m gonna give you an excerpt, it’s gotta be the first kiss, right? This is a romance after all!
She wet her lips with her tongue then ran it over her teeth to make sure her fangs hadn’t made an appearance without her knowing. That would be a sure way to scare a guy off, regardless of how accepting that guy seemed to be of her shifter half. And from the way Travis was gazing at her, he was definitely going to kiss her.
A door down the hallway slammed closed, pulling her out of the moment and reminding her they weren’t alone. Travis cleared his throat.
“I should go,” he said. “I’ll be back tomorrow ready for some B&E.”
Eden could only nod, disappointed he hadn’t kissed her like she’d hoped, and mad at herself for not being that same badass woman she’d been last night and kissed him instead of letting him walk away.
She was about to slide her keycard in the door when Travis stopped halfway down the hall and turned around. She waited for him to say something, but instead, he closed the distance between them in a half dozen strides and cupped her face in one hand then tilted her head back and covered her mouth with his.
This was the first time she’d ever kissed a man who knew what she was, and it felt extraordinary. Like she was free to finally be who she really was and not worry about holding back. So, she didn’t. Instead, she let out a little sound deep in her throat that was half moan, half purr, and tangled her tongue with his.
Travis slid his hands into her long hair, kissing her so hard she could barely breathe. Then, when she thought for sure she would pass out from lack of air, he dragged his mouth away and trailed it along the curve of her jaw to her ear.
“Your eyes are even more beautiful when they turn green,” he whispered huskily.
Eden was so high from his kisses, it took her a moment to process the words. When she finally did, her eyes went wide. She hadn’t even realized she’d shifted!
Travis kissed her again, a slow, tender kiss that made her knees weak all over. “Good night, Eden.”
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
An unlikely meeting…
Agent Eden Bristow never thought she’d end up fighting mafia-types in an alley right before her sister’s wedding, much less that one of the thugs would be a wolf shifter. But what surprised her more was the hot-as-hell soldier who jumped into a bullet firestorm to help her. Scratch that. What surprised her more was the fact he saw her shift and he didn’t freak out. What are the chances she’d meet a man she was not only attracted to, but who could be trusted with government secrets? Slim. One who’s willing to step into the mess that is her family? Priceless. So where do they go from here?
An undeniable love.
Sergeant Travis Dempsey was in Virginia for his sister’s graduation. The last thing he expected was to stumble upon a drop-dead beautiful DCO agent who could kick a bad guy’s ass and still look good in the process. Scratch that. The last thing he expected was for her to have claws and lust-inducing bright green eyes. Feline shifter? Those kinds of things didn’t exist… but they do. And everything about the gutsy, independent woman is drawing Travis in, until he’s falling head-over-combat-boots for her.
But Eden is caught up in something dangerous. And trying to protect her baby sister may get them all killed before Travis has a chance to tell Eden how he feels.
Meet the Author:
Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines who fall in love with them.
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