Catching bad guys in San Diego’s underworld isn’t just FBI Special Agent Ben Alfren’s job, it’s his life. He doesn’t have time for a serious relationship, doesn’t want one either. So when he meets his sexy new neighbor, Amber Jollett, he has nothing more in mind than unwinding with a glass of wine, a romantic walk on the beach…and maybe a hot fling.
But Amber is more than he bargained for. Hunted by an obsessed ex-boyfriend, the fiercely independent nurse chooses fight over flight for the chance at a future with her hot, blue-eyed neighbor. When she gets caught up in Ben’s plans to rescue five kidnapped women, their lives get entangled and their attraction flares into passion. But they’ll learn that in this dangerous game of cat and mouse, real love can save—or doom—them . . .
Kat and I are pleased to welcome author Marissa Garner and Amber Jollett from Hunted, Marissa's latest release from Grand Central Publishing. First up is Amber.
Where are you from? I grew up on a farm near Topeka, Kansas.
Tell us a bit about Hunted. It’s a sexy, edgy romantic thriller. While I was being hunted by my obsessed ex-boyfriend, my hot neighbor, FBI Special Agent Ben Alfren, was hunting for five women who’d been kidnapped by a drug cartel. When we met at a party, I never imagined that I’d be going undercover with him to find those poor women or that he’d insist on helping me take down my stalker. It was so exciting that I felt like I was in a movie.
What did you think the first time you saw Ben? I felt that “hottie” was an understatement. The guy is definitely GQ material.
Good one. And your second thought? I wondered if he could actually be one of those rare non-creeps. You know, the kind of guy you drool over in romance novels.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Absolutely not. I’ve been running from my ex-boyfriend, Jeremy Nelson, for so long that the idea of love or even romance seemed pretty foreign.
What do you like most about Ben? He’s passionate about everything he does.
How would you describe him? Ben is smart, caring, brave, and OMG handsome.
That always helps but how would Ben describe you? He thinks I’m really strong and smart for staying one step ahead of Jeremy for two years.
What made you choose nursing for a career? I love helping people.
What is your biggest fear? I was always afraid Jeremy would catch me.
How do you relax? I read romance novels.
Odd, that's how we discovered romance novels—working the night shift in the surgical Intensive Care Unit. A well written Harlequin was a great way to stay awake during those endless hours of watching cardiac monitors. But we digress; who is your favorite fictional character and why? Sorry, too many to name. I also can’t pick one favorite book.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Thanks for this, Amber. It's Marissa's turn now. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? I’ve read dozens of romantic suspense novels by Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, Brenda Novak, Lisa Jackson, Allison Brennan, Anne Stuart, and other fantastic authors. I learned something about writing from every single book.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I have a mild phobia about bridges, but I’m not going to reveal how it affected the story. No spoilers!
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? My editor at Grand Central Publishing requested the full manuscript of one of my stories when it won first place in a writing contest. After she decided to acquire it, she asked if I had anything else. I was shocked when she also bought the other two books in the series even though they weren’t written yet. I still think I’m dreaming.
What project[s] are you working on now? I’m working on Targeted (Book 2) edits and writing Wanted (Book 3). Targeted is a “ripped from the headlines” story about a female FBI agent who infiltrates a terrorist cell to prevent an urban bombing. In Wanted, an FBI agent teams up with the woman who left him at the altar, and they work together to stop the sabotage of a nuclear power plant.
What's up next for you? After Targeted and Wanted are published in early 2016, it’s going to be hard to decide what to do next. There may be additional books in this FBI Heat series. I sure hope so. And I’d love to publish The Baby Trap, Book 2 in my Hawaiian Heat series. I also have a paranormal romantic suspense that I like to describe as Indiana Jones and Lara Croft join forces with Ghost. So many stories, so little time…
BONUS OFFER: Check out the $25 Amazon e-Gift Card giveaway I’m running on my Facebook page and website. Good luck!
Marissa brought along an excerpt from Hunted:
The man in the gray hoodie was watching her. Amber Jollett couldn’t see his face, but he was the right height and build. Even from the opposite street corner, the intensity of his stare bored into her. She shivered despite the sunny morning.
Her focus never wavered as she slid behind two people. The man’s head turned with her movement.
The traffic light changed, and the crowd surged forward. Amber’s hand dug into her purse until it gripped reassuring metal. Weaving between bodies, she moved to the outside edge to put as much distance as possible between her and the man before the other pedestrians passed on the street. With each step, her heart beat faster.
Halfway across, the man reached up, pulled back the hood…and smiled. Straight black hair. Almond-shaped eyes. Asian features.
Amber’s knees went weak with relief.
Not him. Not this time.
A car horn blared. She jumped and spun around to find a taxi idling a few feet away, its driver gesturing impatiently for her to get out of the way. Waving an apology, she scurried across the street. She found a spot out of the pedestrian flow next to the corner of a building. She needed a moment to quiet her nerves.
She braced her hands on the knees of her pastel pink nurse’s scrubs, inhaled deep breaths, and released them slowly. Fear began to fade as calm returned.
Damn you, Jeremy Nelson. I want my life back.
Amber grimaced and closed her eyes. It was starting all over again. Two years had passed since she’d broken up with her obsessed boyfriend, but he continued to stalk her. Restraining orders and calls to law enforcement had proved useless. Now she alone was responsible for her safety. She’d lived in Coronado, across the bay from San Diego, for only two months. But two or three months was the amount of time it normally took for Jeremy to find her. From now on, she would have to be on constant alert. The worst part was imagining him wearing every hoodie, hiding in every shadow, or following in every vehicle. Usually, she didn’t wait for an actual sighting—that would be too late. No, she couldn’t hesitate. Once her instincts told her he was closing in, she had to move on. She cringed.
How much longer will I be hunted?
This has been an experience and we're so glad Marissa was able to join Wild Women this week.
Veronica Lynch and Kat Doran
To purchase Hunted, go to:
To learn more about Marissa and the stories she creates, go to: