Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rock*it Reads: Guest Post with Kris Kennedy + Giveaway

Kris Kennedy writes sexy medieval romances featuring men with big swords *giggle* The first sentence of Defiant had Kati laughing her butt off and the cover had both of us drooling. Kris is not new to the blog, participated in our first December Joython and now she's back sharing a little bit about the Rock*It Reads project.


Meet Kris:
Wife, mom and former therapist & consultant, Kris left behind the office for the wilds of medieval England and Ireland. She still spends time cleaning the wilds of her home, but whenever she can drag herself away from that excitement, she’s writing sexy, adventure-filled historical romances.

She has books published with Kensington Books and Pocket Books, and they’ve made many Desert Island Keeper/Best Of lists. Her second release, THE IRISH WARRIOR, won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart® Award for Best Unpublished Historical Romance in 2008, and came out in 2010. Her third medieval romance, DEFIANT, received a starred Publishers Weekly review. Her fourth, DECEPTION, comes out this August, from Pocket Books.

Kris is excited to write for New York and to do her own self-published writing, bringing the same level of professionalism and commitment to both endeavors. Her goal is to keep writing stories so her readers keep loving them.

Connect with Kris: Author Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

It’s a brave new world in there. In your eReader, I mean.

Over the past few years, the publishing world has gone through seismic shifts, and there’s an explosion of stories available. It’s a readers’ cornucopia, and it is seriously overflowing.

If there’s a downside to all this plenty, it’s figuring out a way to navigate though. As more and more ebooks get published, with no quality control, how is the reader going to find quality works in a reasonable amount of time?

Enter: Rock*It Reads.

Rock*It Reads is an authors’ collective of New York published authors who are also self- publishing romances. Our goal is two-fold: help readers find our books, and help direct them to other quality self-published romances.

Each of the Rock*It Reads authors has made a commitment to put out only high-quality self- published works, on par with her New York works. We’ve got a website (, a newsletter, Twitter and Facebook pages, and an eye-catching logo for our books.

The Rock*It Reads logo is meant to assure readers they’re getting a story that from a professional romance writer, someone who cares as much about writing great stories as you do about reading them.

So, who are the Rock*It Reads authors?

Me, Kris Kennedy!
Monica Burns
Pamela Clare
Lila DiPasqua
Vanessa Kelly
Elisabeth Naughton
Mia Marlowe
Margo Maguire
Sharon Page
Joan Swan

The brand only launched a little over a month ago, but we’ve already got a lot of great romances for you! And while we’re small now, we plan to grow, and add more terrific romance authors writing stories you can love.

Rock*It Reads is not a publisher. These are 100% self-published works, done by each author, on her own dime, on her own time. We’ve simply banded together to form Rock*It Reads to help our readers find other high-quality self-published romances.

We’re hoping that the logo will be a like a little beacon or guide though the vast world of self- published romances. We want Rock*It Reads to be a win-win situation: authors putting out works they might not be able to via traditional publishing, and readers getting great new stories to love.

And . . . to give you a taste of what you might find when you try out a Rock*It Reads story, here’s an excerpt from my upcoming release, Claiming Her: A Scorching Historical Romance Novella. It’s set in Elizabethan Ireland, and it’s due out this summer.

Katarina’s castle has just been taken over by an Irish warrior. Expecting punishment for the welcome she gave him—which involved a blade being laid against his throat—she is stunned when he offers marriage. Even more stunning is how her body responds to his…

. . . She brushed her fingers over her cheek with a shaking hand, unnerved by the way he’d upended her life. Her lonely, windswept life.

“What say you?” he asked, extending his hand.

She laughed once and turned away. She was breathing too fast; it was making her head spin. Behind her, she heard him push to his feet, heard him coming, a silvery jingle of spur, the soft tread of bootheels. Her hand curled around a hairbrush on the table, its gilt silver handle a cool thing of sanity, for this thing with Aodh Mac Con, it was could not be real.

But it was.

She felt him come up behind her, heat and hard power just inches away from her back, her spine, her buttocks. He was a fire burning in her room. He bent his head; she felt his breath atop her hair, felt it whisper over her ear.

“Your people are frightened, Katarina. They need you. To becalm, return normalcy. My men . . . they have too long been amid the forests. They need civilizing.”

She gave a broken laugh. “They will hardly find that here.”

“You must ache for a husband, Katarina.” His voice was quieter.

She meant to shake her head, deny him, deny everything he was saying. She did nothing.

“On occasion, aye?”

He tread too close. To her body, to her truths.

“At night, when you are alone?”

She felt stinging wet heat press against her eyes.

His fingertips touched low down on her spine. “I would do my part to make it pleasing for you.”

His fingers skimmed up her back. He might have been raking a hot poker up her spine, dragging streams of fire behind. Her body froze as his hand slipped under the weight of tangled hair at the base of her neck and brushed it aside. He lowered his mouth to hover just above her exposed skin.

“Breathe,” he said quietly.

Her breath rushed out.

He still did not touch her, just whispered over her skin. “You would not suffer for the union.”

He presented it as a choice, but everyone would bend to his will. She knew it, he knew it; his presence was a decree. But still, he stood, restrained, head bent, brushing the hair off the nape of her neck, coaxing her.

Seducing her.

Her body rippled with an unstoppable shiver. Head to heel, she was nothing but a tremble.

“Contrary to what you might think, Katarina,” oh, he must stop saying her name in that lilting dark Irish voice. It would make her do something mad. “I do not take my pleasure in unwilling women.”

“No?” she whispered.

“Nay.” His hand skimmed around to the front her waist. “I prefer to make them willing.”

“That could never happen,” she said. To her shame it came out as a low, whispered exhale.

“Let me try.”

“How?” she whispered. She meant ‘how on earth could you ever make me willing?’

He pressed his knee pressed against the back of hers and lowered his mouth to her neck.

Hot fire shot through her body. The tip of his tongue stroked across her skin, and if she’d thought him dangerous before, now she was educated on Aodh Mac Con’s true peril.

He was spark, and she was nothing but tinder.

His hot, confident mouth laid whisper-light kisses across the sensitive skin at the base of her neck, raining chills down her back, so she almost did not notice when his wide palm came to rest flat against her stomach.

Shock reeled through her. She made the smallest push against his hand and he dropped it at once. He did not move his skillful, hot mouth, though, and she did not move her body. Wicked girl, she did not move anything at all.

He gathered her hand in his. Not hurrying in the least, he lifted their entwined fingers to his mouth and kissed each of her knuckles in turn. It was as if he’d laid tiny torches to the never-tended skin. She was breathless, and had to open her mouth to inhale. He touched each finger until he reached her orphaned thumb, then he overturned their hands and pressed a kiss into the center of her palm, a slow, lingering kiss, his head to the side.

Her knees almost buckled.

The day’s growth of facial hair on his jaw scraped against her palm, and she curled her fingers into it for a mad, brief second. Her spinning head was now a whirling thing, a dervish mind.

Which had to explain what happened next. How she allowed him so much.

He shifted behind her, and she felt his hand slid up the mound of her breast. No, not his hand, hers, their fingers intertwined, sliding over her breast, making her stroke herself, brushing her knuckles over her nipple, coaxing it to a hard nub.

He was making her caress herself.

Their breaths were loud in the room. She felt as if she’d drunk a dozen cups of wine. She should have whispered ‘no’, tried to stop this thing, but she said nothing. For she knew, deep inside, if she said no, he would stop.

And if he stopped, she would die.

Passion had never, never served her. But oh, how it pleased.

What Aodh was doing, how it pleased.

His mouth was on her neck and she, wanton she, leaned her neck to the side, to allow him more. He went right up the length of her neck, no hesitation, his mouth like a weapon, whispering what he would do for her, “Every night, Katarina,” taking more, his hard thighs against the back of hers.

The thread binding her to sense snapped and she pushed her hips back into his and arched her spine, lifting her breasts into the hard cupping heat of him.

“Aye, lass,” he said hoarsely against her neck.

He bent them forward slightly and moved their entwined hands up the seam of her legs, tugging her gown up, lifting until the silk was bunched between her thighs, and then he had them push in, hard and slow.

She flung her head back with a shuddering cry.

“That is how,” he said in a low, hot whisper, and moved his hand again.

Excerpt from Claiming Her ©2012 by Kris Kennedy
Katarina, daughter of an English lord who died three years ago, has fought to defend her family’s Irish estate—and her inheritance—from the fierce native warlords who covet her lands. But now the distant queen of England has sent a man to help. A new master, a new lord, a new husband: the next baron of Rardove.

Self-sufficient and accustomed to loneliness, Katarina opens the gates for her new husband with mixed feelings, but her ambivalence turns to horror when the man who unhelms himself is not the Englishman sent by the Queen, but one of the wild Irish warlords. The worst of them, known as Aodh Mac Con Rardove—Aodh, son of the Hound of Rardove.

As his men spread out and commandeer the castle with chilling competence, their heavily-armed, disreputable, dishonorable, sinfully handsome master turns his attention on Katarina.

Aodh Mac Con has come to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands and hold them against anyone: the powerful English queen whom he once served; the armies marching for him; the fiery Englishwoman who has ruled so competently and seems so controlled, so poised, so disdainful. But inside her lurks a firestorm of passion, and Aodh intends to unleash it and, in the end, conquer her.

But Aodh does not reckon with the true power of passions unleashed, nor of his own deepening bond to the one woman who sings his heartsong. In the end, he will be forced to choose between the thing he’s always wanted, and the love he never dreamed he could have.

Rock*It Read’s goal right now is to spread the word. So someone who mentions this Romancing Rakes blog post &/or Rock*It Reads in her own little sphere of the interwebs (blog, Twitter, Facebook) and comments back here to let us know, gets a chance to win an e-copy of Claiming Her when it releases!
In fact, we’ll make sure you get your copy a day before it gets uploaded for the rest of the world!

Okay ladies, isn't that fantastic?! Here's how to enter:
  • So all you have to do is spread the word and give us the direct link where you shared this post or about the Rock*It Reads project.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter form below. You must leave a comment to let us know where you shared. All other entries are optional.

Keep up with the fun posts by the ladies of Rock*It Reads here.

A huge thank you to Kris for kicking off the event as well as donating a giveaway copy of Claiming Her.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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