Thursday, November 14, 2013


November 4 – 15, 2013


Title – Hard Target

Author – Kay Thomas

Publisher – Avon Books

Genre – Romantic Suspense

Release Date – November 12, 2013

BLOG TOUR ORGANIZED BY:  Sinfully Sexy on Tour Promotional Services 


The first installment in the Elite Ops series, featuring sexy ex-military men ... and the women who rescue their hearts.

Former DEA agent Leland Hollis wasn't planning on being a hero. Recovering from an injury sustained during a drug bust gone wrong and with more personal demons than he cares to admit, he wants nothing more than peace and a chance to rebuild his life. But when Anna Mercado's crazy ex shows up wielding a baseball bat, Leland can't ignore his instinct to help. And after her son is kidnapped, Leland agrees to deliver the ransom into dangerous territory south of the border.

Anna has no choice but to go with this stranger she's just met if she ever wants to see her son again. But getting the boy out of a violent cartel region involves risking everything. And for that Leland will have to convince Anna to do the scariest thing of all … open her heart and trust him.



This is a scene from the first chapter of HARD TARGET where the heroine, Anna Mercado, overhears her estranged husband, Max, talking on the phone.
“Take Zach from the party before the guests arrive. We won’t dump her body until the designated time. It’s all been arranged.”

Anna stopped in the doorway of the Presidential suite, her husband’s words abruptly penetrating her lust-fogged brain.

“No, I’m not worried. Haven’t you heard? Mexico is the land of vicious drug cartels and random violence. My wife will be a sad statistic.”

Was this a dream?

She felt the cold Italian marble beneath her bare feet and recognized Max’s voice in the adjoining room, but she didn’t wake up. The seductive words he had whispered moments earlier on the beach still resonated in her head.

The only thing I want you to wrap yourself around is me.

She’d come up immediately when Julia had volunteered to get Zach and the cousins’ meals from the hotel’s beach grill. But on the way to the room she’d been calling herself all kinds of a fool. She and Max were on the verge of officially separating even though they’d been living apart for several months. The counseling wasn’t working. Having sex was a terrible idea. Even comfort sex.

Yet he’d been so attentive, so different on this trip. So anxious to please her, while keeping his temper completely in check. Last week she’d been considering which attorney to use in a divorce. Now she was just grateful she was standing here overhearing his phone conversation in the next room.

Her thoughts raced and her blood chilled, but her feet were glued to the imported floor. She stared across the opulent suite’s living room to the open balcony doors. The heir to the Mercado Tequila fortune settled for nothing less than the finest, even when planning his family’s demise.

An ocean breeze blew through the room, ruffling her hair like a playful lover. The Gulf of Mexico was just as blue as it had been ten minutes ago when Max kissed her on the sand, yet everything had changed. She was listening to her husband order their son’s kidnapping and her murder.
I was given this book by author for honest review. Leland Hollis is a DEA agent on the brink of retiring after a bust gone bad. Over hearing Anna Mercado talking to her son when her estranged husband breaks in on them he rushes to the rescue. They survive gunfights and explosions but will they survive a mother's willingness to do anything for her child. I literally could not put this book down, Fast paced to where I had to know what was going to happen next it didn’t disappoint. I am eager to dig into book 2 hopefully soon.

Q & A Extras:
What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started Writing by Kay Thomas
The one thing I wish I had known before I started writing is that the more you write, the more addictive it becomes. If I had know this beforehand I might have taken up, oh, I don't know—marathon walking or scrapbooking instead.

I can't imagine not writing today but part of that is because I've been doing it for so long. The first day of the “fun ed” writing class I took over 20 years ago the teacher said, "If you can walk next door to the pottery class that's starting and be happy, go do that right now. Writing is hard stuff and difficult to stop once you start, you'll be happier in the long run if you do something different."

How's that for a pep talk? Not a one of us left that writing class, and I'm awfully glad I didn't "go next door." But for a long time I had no idea what she’d meant.

I do now. Writing is incredibly habit-forming, right up there with chocolate and red wine! Still, I cannot imagine NOT doing it.

I’ve heard people talk about characters that just won’t leave them alone, and I never understood that whole concept until writing the Elite Ops series. Hard Target was an addictive writing experience for me. I loved the characters, the location, the adventure, the growth arcs, and the relationships.

While the book didn’t write itself, the story came much easier than others I’ve written in the past. For the first time I could hear the characters talking in my head and they wouldn’t let me rest, till I wrote down what they were saying. Currently, I’m working on Book 2 in the Elite Ops series and I’m happy to say that I’m having a similar experience with “hearing” those characters’ voices.



Where Did You Get That Idea? By Kay Thomas

Several people have asked where I got the idea for Hard Target and my new Elite Ops series. My son has Aspergers. About four years ago he was working with a new social skills therapist who was in the process of changing careers. This man had left the DEA and was starting his own security business while also working with special needs kids. Quite a combo, right? I was fascinated by what would take someone from such a challenging, busting-down-doors job to teaching my seventh grader how to talk about his feelings. Conversations there definitely started my wheels turning.
At the same time my son was working with this guy, my critique partner gave me an article from The Atlantic magazine about a gentleman who goes into Latin American countries to recover children who’ve been kidnapped by non-custodial parents. The article combined with those earlier conversations got me to thinking some more, and the concept for Hard Target came from there. But I realized I couldn’t just write Leland Hollis’s story and be done with that world.
I had watched the Russell Crowe-Meg Ryan movie, Proof of Life, a couple of times. I also started following the now-cancelled Discovery series called Kidnap and Rescue about security consultants who go into foreign countries and get Americans who have been kidnapped while working or living overseas.
I started wondering what if instead of just one sexy guy, I had a whole company of men and women with backgrounds that were ex-military or ex-DEA who wanted to start their lives over again and work in the private sector. The idea kept percolating and the Elite Ops team was born.
Write What You’d Like to Know by Kay Thomas
As a writer I’ve been told many times to “write what you know” but I once heard someone say, “Write what you’d like to know.” As a romantic suspense author I don’t really want to know what it feels like to have someone point a gun at me, kidnap my child, or plot my demise.
In writing my second book, Bulletproof Texas, I had a terrifying experience when I insisted on learning how to rock climb myself because my character was going to in the book. The equipment at the rock climbing gym malfunctioned, and I fell about 12 feet— flat on my back—in front of my husband and child. For the record, my agent had begged me not to do this. I’ve now learned my lesson and do my “extreme research” online only!
That said there are some fascinating places I would love to visit, virtually—places I would never dream of buying a plane ticket to. Hard Target—my first book in the new Elite Ops series—takes place in extraordinarily remote locations in Mexico and one area in particular where drug cartels are quite active. I have no desire to do a live research trip there, but on-line I’ve made a wonderful discovery.
You can find English speaking expat bloggers in pretty much any place you’d like to set a story.
For me that is finding someone who has documented their experience of moving from their “first world” life to a third world country and is writing all about how that exposure to a dramatically different way of living and looking at the world has changed them. Some folks are in their adopted countries for a few weeks, maybe a year, others arrive and decide never to leave.
Regardless of the length of their stay, I find very similar themes in most of their stories:
what they notice first about being immersed in a new culture, what they miss about their old life, what they appreciate, what they find fascinating and freeing about their new home. These are many of the things my characters would think, feel, or experience if they were travelling to the area for the first time.
These eye-opening travel logs introduce me to places I’ll never physically visit, even for a day. With the Elite Ops series I’ve found that where I set something will sometimes depend specifically on what kind of blogs I can find on-line. For Hard Target I found a blog with you tube videos.
An older California couple had moved several years ago to the area of Mexico I was writing about before it became so dangerous. They drove their airstream RV into the jungle and just decided to stay. They have fascinating videos of the terrain, the people, festivals, towns, and parks.
Part of the next book in my Elite Ops series is set in West Africa. Again, with all the political unrest in that area, I have no desire to visit personally right now. But I do want to read and learn as much about Africa as I can. I’ve found a woman blogging who is originally from the UK and moved to Niger with her husband’s job. Their young children are going to elementary school there. It’s been a complete transformation of their lives and she’s writing all about things that will help me write authentically about the area.
I’m not sure I’ll ever want to move across the globe to a totally different way of life, but I’m definitely up for a virtual trip and learning as much as possible from folks who’ve “been there, done that.”
What can fans of HARD TARGET look forward to next?
 Book 2 in the Elite Ops series (working title: Personal Target) is about a case of mistaken identity and a very personal vendetta against former SEAL/CIA operative, Nick Donovan. From Dallas to Mexico, across the African Savanna, to the shores of the Mediterranean‑it’s a race against time for Nick to save the woman he loves but lost years before.


Three ebook copies of Hard Target from the publisher
a Nook Simple Touch Glowlight


I didn’t grow up burning to be a writer. As a child I wasn’t even much of a reader until fourth grade. That’s when I was stuck at home with the flu and my big sister read THE BLACK STALLION aloud to me. For hours I was enthralled—shipwrecked in a foreign land and riding an untamed horse across the hot desert sand. Then tragedy struck. My sister lost her voice. (I think she caught my flu.) But I couldn’t wait to hear what happened to Alec Ramsey—so I picked up that book, finished reading it by myself, and went in search of more adventures at the local library. Today I live in Dallas with my husband, our two children, and a shockingly-spoiled Boston terrier.

My next novel will be published with Avon Impulse in November 2013. HARD TARGET is the first installment in a three-book romantic suspense series titled ELITE OPS, featuring sexy ex-military men…and the women who rescue their hearts. For excerpts, book trailers, and more—visit my website at


Twitter address:    @KayThomasWrites

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