Friday, August 24, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker

Black Knights Inc.—Behind the facade of their tricked–out motorcycle shop is an elite special ops team assigned the jobs too hot for anyone else to handle.

Hold On Tight...

Ex–Marine Nate "Ghost" Weller is an expert at keeping his cool—and his distance—which makes him one hell of a sniper. It's also how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she's his best friend's baby sister...and totally off limits.

Rough Road Ahead

Ali's never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley—or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she's in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now she's become the target of a nasty international organization. With Nate, her life is in the most capable hands possible—but her heart is another story altogether.
Let's hear more about the story from author Julie Ann Walker!
Q: What gave you the idea for the Black Knights, Inc series? What's this series all about?

JW:  When you think of Black Knights Inc., think Sons of Anarchy meets 007.  They're a covert government defence firm operating under the guise of a custom motorcycle shop.  I like to say they're grease-monkey motorcycle mechanics by day, Uncle Sam's last resort by night.  And I came up with the idea because I have exactly two types of fantasy men, the one in uniform, and the one who's a bad boy and rides a Harley.  Black Knights Inc. was a way for me to combine the two.  
Q: Let's talk about the characters in your first book HELL ON WHEELS. Tell us about Ali and Nate. Why are they perfect together?

JW:  Why are they perfect together?  Ha!  Well, at first glance they're absolutely not.  Because if you want to talk about opposite ends of the spectrum, there are no two people who better represent that dichotomy than Nate and Ali, both physically and in terms of their personalities.  He's big and swarthy, she's petite and blond.  He's taciturn and solemn, given to brooding silences.  She's a bubbly kindergarten teacher who despairs that her mouth seems to be attached to a motor. But, baby, there's a reason for the saying, "opposites attract."  And Nate and Ali are it.  She's the light to his dark; he's the rock for her to lean on.  Put together, the two of them make one heck of a team. 
Q: What is the most romantic thing Nate did for Ali?

JW:  Romantic?  Well, Nate isn't necessarily one for overly flowery gestures; the man has a little trouble expressing himself.  But occasionally he gives you a peek at the poet hidden away inside that rough exterior.  Like the time he tells Ali that her lively chatter - which she laments and has trouble controlling - sounds happy and sunny to him. Then, of course, you have to account for the fact that he literally lays his life on the line for her.  No hesitation.  No second thoughts.  And there's absolutely nothing more romantic than that, am I right? 
Q: What is your favorite scene in this book? Please share with us a short excerpt.

JW:  I love the scene where Ali confronts Nate in his bedroom.  To set it up: she's under the impression he hates her guts.  (Sooo not true.)
When she said his name like that, he wanted to take on the world. "Hmm?"
"You just laughed."
"I do that on occasion." He used to do it all the time when Grigg was alive. The exasperating sonofabitch had done his level best to keep Nate in stitches. Of course, Ali wouldn't know that. Anytime she was around him, he was usually concentrating so hard on not springing a boner that any attempt at appreciating humor was out of the question. Since Grigg's death, though, all the laughter had left him, flown away with Grigg's last breath. But something about having Ali here made him feel…lighter. Dare he admit it? Maybe even a teensy bit happy?
Scratch that. He didn't just want to take on the world when she said his name like that, he wanted to take on the whole friggin' galaxy. "Yeah?"
"I'm touching you."
No doubt about that. The baseball bat he was trying to conceal behind his zipper was testimony enough. "I noticed."
"You're not jerking away. Acting like I'm carrying around a double whammy of hepatitis and bubonic plague."
Double whammy of…He could only shake his head and fight a grin. She was simply adorable. No bones about it. And, yeah, that warm feeling slowly seeping through his veins could only be happiness. He remembered the sensation…vaguely. "What are you jabbering on about now, woman?"
"That fact that you don't like for me to touch you."
Was she insane?
"You don't like it when I touch you, do you?" she asked.
"I never said that," he muttered through clenched teeth because she was in the process of running her hands over his shoulders. Was it possible to feel happiness while in the midst of being killed?
"Then why have you always gone out of your way to avoid any physical contact with me? We've known each other for…well, sometimes it seems like forever. You're like a second son to my parents. You grab up my mom and hug her until she's giggling and ruffling your hair. Even that awkward male combination handshake/hug thing you do with my dad proves you're not allergic to human touch. And you and Grigg had your arms thrown around each other's shoulders so often mom sometimes called you the USMC's only set of Siamese twins—attached at the armpit. But all I ever got was a tip of the chin, if that. So what gives? Why do you turn sideways when we pass each other in the hallway?"
For a brief instant, he considered lying. But there were so many bitter truths he couldn't tell her, so many questions she'd asked that he absolutely could not answer. This wasn't one of them. So…the truth it was. "I like it too much."
"Huh?" There went her nose again, all wrinkly and wonderful.
"Your touch. I like it too much." Hell, now it'd be her going out of her way to avoid physical contact. Which was just as well. He was only a man, after all, and with her within arm's reach—not to mention actually touching him—his hold on his usually stalwart restraint was tenuous at best.
Downright threadbare at worst.
Her delicately arched brows snapped toward her nose. "Like it too much. What does that mean?"
Geez. The woman wasn't usually slow, but she was pulling the ol' bag of hammers routine with this one. Instead of explaining it, he simply reeled her in until she brushed against the irrefutable evidence centered directly behind his fly.

Q: Woo hoo! I can just imagine the sparks. So, which character in the entire series is the hardest to write? Why?

JW:  The hardest character for me to write so far, hands down, was Michelle "Shell" Carter.  She's the heroine in the third book, REV IT UP.  And, lordy, does that woman have a lot of baggage.  She's dealing with a past that's the stuff of childhood nightmares and a present that threatens to destroy everything she's worked so hard for.  As a result, she's secretive, perhaps even a bit cold - though we eventually discover why she's that way and it makes her a very sympathetic character, but until then?  Yeesh.  So, yeah, she was a tough one.  But the tough ones are also very rewarding... in the end.  (At least that's what I tell myself. Ha!)
Q: Which couple in the entire series is your favorite? Why?

JW:  I'm always partial to the couple I'm currently writing about, mainly because I'm so deep inside their heads that they feel like an extension of myself.  But I can tell you this, Boss and Becky - the leads in the second book, IN RIDES TROUBLE - were definitely the most troublesome and the most satisfying to write about.  Those two were so stubborn I sometimes wanted to reach into the page and throttle them.  But, oh, when they finally get their happily ever after, it's absolutely divine.  
Q: What's up next for you?

JW:  I'm currently putting the finishing touches on the fourth book in the series.  It's tentatively titled RUNNING ON EMPTY, and it's the story of sexy, Cajun operator, Richard "Rock" Babineaux and the Black Knights' spunky communications specialist, Vanessa Cordero.  It opens in Costa Rica with Rock on the run after having been listed as a rogue operator.  There's a race through the jungle, a shadowy entity who's bent on Rock's death, and only with Vanessa's help will Rock be able to clear his name and make it out alive.  An explosive unmasking at the end will leave everyone gasping.  Plus, you know, there's some crazy, steamy sexiness thrown in there - it is the jungle, after all.  Rawr!
Deep in the heart of the Windy City, three things can be found at Julie Ann Walker's fingertips: a keyboard, a carafe of coffee, and a sleepy yellow Labrador retriever.  They, along with her ever-patient husband, keep her grounded as her imagination flies high. Look for the next two books in her fast-paced series: In Rides Trouble (September 2012) and Rev It Up (October 2012). For more information, please visit or follow her on Facebook or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor.
Sourcebooks has very kindly offered 1 copy of HELL ON WHEELS to 1 lucky winner! US/Canada only.


Ask the author a question or answer this question in the comment section: What draws you to romantic suspense books? Is it the characters, the plot or something else? Or all?

Contest Deadline: August 31, 2012, 1159pm EST
Winners selection: September 2012

Winners will be randomly selected via Good luck!


Lkay107 said...

For me, It's really a mix of characters and plots. I also love romances that are set in areas/locations that I am not familiar with.

*yadkny* said...

I think what draws me to romantic suspense books is the action mixed with the romance and the believability that this could actually happen... or at least I'd like to think it could:) Things are usually fast-paced and intense and that's just how I like my stories.

CONGRATS on your latest release, Julie!

Julie Ann Walker said...

Woot! Thanks to The Romance Reviews for having me on today! It's been a lot of fun!

Jolene and Family said...

If it's a series or an author I love, it's always an auto buy. If I'm looking at a romantic suspense by a new to me author, it's the blurb on the back and the plot that has to sell me. I've walked away from books before because the blurb didn't sell me and then came back to it after a recommendation or an amazing review. I like my romantic suspense heavy on the suspense and action and heavy on the romance :)


CMD said...

Loved the 1st book in the series, so I'm stoked to read #2 (and #3)!

RS is my favourite genre because I really enjoy the fast pace and twists & turns of thrillers, but I'm always waiting for that love story to materialise. RS combines the best of both worlds :)

Elizabeth H. said...

I think it's a mix of both. The characters and the plot have to be interesting enough to capture my attention. If characters and the plot aren't cohesive, I usually pass on the book. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
ehaney578 at AOL dot com

jillibooks said...

I like the pace of romantic suspense

Maureen said...

I like the fast paced, page turning aspect of reading a romantic suspense.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Vanessa N. said...

I like a mix of both. I like the story to keep me guessing but i also love seeing how the relationship forms between the characters.

donnas said...

Its all. They have great stories, interesting characters and a sense of adventure.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Heather said...

for me its mainly the characters. I get bored easy, but I love to read so it needs to have enough action and romance to keep me enthralled..... lol, oh yeah and it must be beliveable!

Megan Burlingame said...

I love the romance and suspense. It about kills me and excites me for several wonderful reasons!!! :)

yellowrose said...

I like the fast pace and seeing how the romance develops, too.
michyellowrose@gmail.comtbedroe 8

VampedChik said...

Definitely adding this to my wishlist! :) and It's a little bit of all of that that draws me to the genre. I started off reading just mysteries and my friend gave me a romantic suspense book and from there I was hooked. They are just so easy to get lost in and you can't wait to see what happens next. :)
Thanks so much!
AmberLynn1231 @

Anonymous said...

Great romantic suspense- love miitary men. Good start of a series. Will make it a TBB & TBR.

Elf2060 said...

I have to like the characters but the plot has to keep me enthralled and entertain me, I like romance mixed with a little action and danger with some humor. The story sounds great, thanks for the excerpt!

lavendersbluegreen said...

What draws you to romantic suspense books?

Yes to characters & the plot but also (shallow) cover art, like the author's other work; gosh there are all kinds of reasons!

Texas Book Lover said...

It's a mix of both the plot and the characters. The plot has to be believable enough to want to read and the characters have to have some chemistry between them!

bn100 said...

The plot and characters draw me to a book.

I follow via email.


Anita Yancey said...

It is usually the plot that draws me to romantic suspense books. But good strong characters also help.


Joanne said...

I think for me it's a combination of the characters and the plot. I also like to figure out who did what before the story tells us.


pc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pc said...

Thanks for the great excerpt! For this series, do you have a rough idea of what the plot will be in each book? How many books are you planning for this series?

What I like about romantic suspense is how the plot intensifies the characters romantic relationship and vice versa how the characters and their love intensify the plot.

hotcha12 said...


Kai said...

I love romantic suspense especially when it is filled with dangers. I love trying to figure out what the who, why, what, and how.


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