Saturday, May 19, 2018

Welcome Kelli A. Wilkins today


Please give a warm welcome to Sam Hixton, the hero from Lies, Love & Redemption by Kelli A. Wilkins. Today we sit down and see what makes him tick.

Q: Greetings, Sam. Before we get started, could you tell our readers about the book?
Sure, I’m glad to. Lies, Love & Redemption is a full-length novel set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877 and blends a steamy Western romance with mystery and danger. It has a little bit of everything: humor, sadness, and more than a few spicy love scenes. (Grins.)

Q: Tell us about yourself. What got you in the crosshairs for your author?
I’m not sure what I did to make Kelli annoyed at me, but the book begins with me shot and half-dead, stumbling across the prairie. I’m at the lowest point in my life then, and I was ready to fall down and not bother to get up. I’m not usually like that; I’m known for being resilient and determined. Once I set my sights on a goal, I go after it. Of course, that’s how I got into that predicament in the first place—but that’s a long story.

I made my way to Cassie Wilcox’s store and she saved my life. Against her better judgment, Cassie allowed me to stay with her until I recovered. When I was back on my feet I felt that I had a debt to pay, and that it was my duty to watch over Cassie. Naturally, this led to lots of conflict between us. And it didn’t help that the townsfolk (and Luke, the sheriff) didn’t trust me because I was a stranger, and I defended Cassie when she needed it.

Cassie brought me back into the land of the living (in more ways than one), although it wasn’t easy for either of us. We both had issues with trusting other people, and ourselves.

Q: What drew you to Cassie? Tell us about her.
Cassie is an amazing woman for our time. When I met her, she was running a general store that had seen better days. The store meant everything to her and she was determined to keep it open, no matter what. Cassie lived in Holloway all her life, and her father used to run the store. After a tragic incident, Cassie inherited the store, but the puritanical townspeople didn’t approve of her independent ways and wanted to drive her out.

I admired Cassie’s strength and perseverance, and discovered that under her seemingly gruff exterior, she was a sensitive woman who longed to be loved. Of course, she refused to admit that, and we had our fair share of spats from the moment we met. (Laughs.) That probably made me love her even more.

Q: What is it about Cassie that makes you crazy in a good way?
Sometimes she’s just so dang headstrong! She’ll get an idea to do something, and off she goes. Of course I’m able to settle her, but that’s because she loves and trusts me. In the book, I have to be the calm voice of reason and tell her to slow down and make a logical plan to do something. Cassie was on her own and had to rely on herself for everything. Now she has me to help her, whether she wants the help or not.

Q: Was there an instant attraction between you?
Oh yes! I was attracted to Cassie from the moment I first woke up—even though she wasn’t very nice to me. Cassie fell for me, too, but she had a hard time admitting it. Part of her didn’t want to get attached because her heart’s been broken before, and she didn’t want to feel vulnerable again.
Q: Do you sometimes want to strangle your writer? What sort of upsetting or embarrassing things did Kelli do to you and Cassie in the book?
I was put through the worst trials and tribulations imaginable before the book started. (I can’t divulge them here, but they were whoppers!) Of course, the troubles from my past resurfaced just as I was settling in and making a new life with Cassie. Our relationship was nearly destroyed a few times (thanks, Kelli!) due to trust issues (or rather, “lack of trust” issues), and we almost went our separate ways toward the end. It was a very emotional time for me, and I’ll admit, I wasn’t always seen in a good light.

One thing Kelli did that has caused some controversy is portray the way that Cassie and I made love for the first time. We didn’t have a “traditional” super-romantic love scene—instead, we gave into our passion in the pantry while we were being shot at!

Kelli has taken a lot of criticism for this scene, but it works. Cassie and I had been denying our feelings for far too long, and when I thought we might be killed, I kissed her. That sparked a chain reaction and we just did what came natural. All we wanted was to be with each other, and hell, for all we knew, we might have died that night. Who could blame us for that?

Cassie didn’t have a problem with it, and neither did I, but some readers and reviewers looked down at us (and gave Kelli heat) for it. Sorry folks, but that’s just how it was. Kelli was writing our story, and to change that scene would not have been authentic to us as characters. It wasn’t a one-time thing, and yes, of course, it wasn’t the “gentlemanly” way I had imagined being with Cassie, but it happened.

Later in the book, Cassie and I have several steamy “proper” love scenes, so I hope that “makes up” for our heated passion in the pantry.

Q: Describe yourself in four words.
Loyal. Dependable. Funny. Mysterious.

Q: What do you do for a living?
Right now I’m working in a hardware store, and loving it. Why? (Laughs) Nobody’s shooting at me! A long time ago, I used to be a sheriff, and that got me into a lot of trouble. That experience came in handy in the book, but I’m glad to put that violent lifestyle behind me.

Q: What do you fear the most?
I fear what most people fear—losing the people they love. Before I met Cassie I suffered a great personal loss and it took me a very long time to get over it. I nearly lost Cassie a few times in the book, and I was reminded all over again how short and precious life is.

Q: Anything else you want to add?
Lies, Love & Redemption is a great book, if I do say so myself. It’s gotten several excellent reviews and is a perfect way to lose yourself in another place and time. If you like Westerns, you’ll love this story. And if you’ve never read one, now’s your chance.

Kelli has also written two other historical romances for Medallion Press: The Viking’s Witch and Dangerous Indenture. From what I heard, they’re pretty good, too. Lots of action, adventure, mystery, drama, and hot love scenes! I’ve learned that Kelli doesn’t write boring books. She says that although she writes a lot of historical romances, they all take place in different time periods and different places. So, she’s not “just” writing Westerns or “only” writing about a certain century.

Her romances span all genres (contemporary, historical/fantasy, gay, paranormal) and range from mild to super-spicy. I encourage everyone to check out all of her books here: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins or https://www.books2read.com/ap/nkvddR/Kelli-A-Wilkins and read more about them on her site: www.KelliWilkins.com.
  
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with readers. This was fun. I might ask Cassie to visit in an upcoming chat.

Thank you, Sam, for joining us today. Here’s a look at Lies, Love & Redemption:



Lies, Love & Redemption

Shot and left for dead, Sam Hixton stumbles into a general store on the Nebraska prairie and collapses into the arms of Cassie Wilcox.

Cassie’s world is turned upside down when the handsome stranger drops into her life. Sam is another complication she doesn’t need: her business is dying and her trouble with the townspeople is escalating. Yet she’s determined to keep the store open — no matter what the cost.

As Sam recovers from his injuries, he hides the truth about his identity and convinces Cassie to let him work in the store. He’s attracted to her and admires her independent nature but quickly realizes Cassie’s in way over her head. They fight their growing attraction, and Cassie questions whether she can trust her fragile heart to a mysterious stranger. Will he accept her once he knows about her troubled past?

Cassie resists Sam’s advances and represses her feelings until one fateful night when they give in to their fiery passion. Together, they work out a plan to save the store but find their efforts are thwarted—and their lives endangered—by the locals.

Sam’s secret returns to haunt him and pulls him away just when Cassie needs him the most. Will he regain her trust when she learns the truth? Cassie has everything invested in the store—can she save it and find true love with Sam before it’s too late?

Here’s a mild excerpt:

Cassie removed the sling and uncovered Sam’s shoulder. She bent forward, resting her hand on the center of Sam’s chest. His skin was warm, and she felt his muscles ripple beneath his skin.

Her heart beat faster, and she closed her eyes. She shouldn’t be in here. It wasn’t proper, and yet… It took all her willpower not to peek at his lower half again.

“How is it?”

She opened her eyes and checked the wound. “It looks fine to me.” A lock of hair came loose from her bun and brushed across Sam’s chest. He reached up with his good hand and tucked it behind her ear.

Before she could protest, he leaned in close and kissed her.

Oh, Lord.

Sam’s lips moved against hers, slow and tender, as if he expected her to pull away or slap him. She didn’t. Instead, she closed her eyes and gave in.

Sam clutched her tighter, pulling her down to him. Her fingertips splayed against his bare chest, and she moaned. God, it felt good to be kissed and held by a strong man again.

A warm pulsing sensation flooded between her legs as Sam slipped his tongue into her mouth. She lost herself in his embrace and everything faded away. After what seemed like forever, Sam broke the kiss.

“Stay with me,” he whispered.

She gazed into his blue eyes. “I can’t. I should—”

“Yes, you can. I’ll treat you right. We’ll only do as much as you want. Kissing and cuddling, that’s all,” he said, then kissed her again.

That’s all? That wouldn’t be enough for her. Once they got down to serious kissing and touching, she wouldn’t want to stop. And she wouldn’t let Sam stop—even if he wanted to.

Cassie melted in his arms. Their tongues entwined, probing and exploring each other’s mouths. Sam’s kisses stripped her of all reason and left her with a raging desire that needed to be sated.

It would be so easy to give in, to say yes, stay here all afternoon and…Was Sam healthy enough to make love? Lord almighty, what was she thinking? She knew better. After all she’d been through, she knew she should resist him, but…

“Cassie? You here?” Luke bellowed from downstairs.

She yanked herself from Sam’s arms. “Damn!”

“Don’t answer him.”

“I have to. If I don’t, he’ll come up here.” She stood and adjusted the covers over Sam’s chest. “Be down in a minute,” she hollered.

“Get rid of him and come back. I think I’m on my way to a speedy recovery,” Sam said, grinning.

Order your copy of Lies, Love & Redemption here:


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.

Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

Kelli’s writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

Look for a new historical (Gothic) romance coming in Summer of 2018!

Visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

Follow Kelli A. Wilkins on the Web…
Website: http://www.KelliWilkins.com
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb


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