People often ask how I come up with ideas for my novels. Sometimes I have no answer—it just seems to pop into my head. Best guess, the kernel of an idea probably came from a newspaper or magazine article or something I saw in a movie. It was probably just so far back I don’t recall.
Before I started to write THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, Brandon Garrett’s story, the third book in my Maximum Security Series, I had decided to set a book in Colorado, maybe even a new series. I ran across an article about the Army Chemical Weapons Depot near Fort Carson and started thinking… wouldn’t it make be interesting if someone stole chemical weapons from the depot? I wonder if it could be done? How would the good guys catch the thieves? And so off I went on a story that turned into The Ultimate Betrayal.
Having written over 70 novels since I began way back when, it’s harder and harder to come up with fresh ideas. I do a lot of research for my books. This novel, set around a military base, was particularly difficult. Lots of stuff I didn’t know.
In the story, when investigative journalist Jessie Kegan’s father, a colonel in the army, is accused of treason, Jessie is determined to clear his name. Reluctantly, she turns to former Special Ops soldier, Brandon Garrett, her late brother’s best friend–a true heartbreaker, according to her brother.
With danger coming from every angle, time is running out and the game being played is deadly. Working together, Bran and Jessie must risk everything to solve the riddle and confront the threat–before it’s too late.
Till next time, happy reading and all best, Kat
When investigative journalist Jessie Kegan’s father, a colonel in the army, is accused of treason, Jessie is determined to clear his name. Reluctantly, she turns to former Special Ops soldier, Brandon Garrett, her late brother’s best friend—a true heartbreaker, according to her brother.
With danger coming from every angle, time is running out and the game being played is deadly. Working together, Bran and Jessie must risk everything to solve the riddle and confront the threat—before it’s too late.
Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. Kat’s latest novel, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, will be released in paperback December 29th.
Since my book, THE CONSPIRACY, Chase Garrett and Harper Winston’s story, is set in Texas, I thought it might be fun to talk about one of my favorite places.
There is something special about Texas. My husband and I lived in Houston for a couple of months one summer and it was a wonderful experience. The people in Texas are extremely friendly, and always seem to be in a good mood.
We stuffed ourselves on gourmet meals in some of the country’s finest restaurants, ate a ton of delicious Tex Mex, enjoyed Asian, Indian flatbread, and just about everything else. We visited art galleries, the beach, and drove past some of the beautiful ranches in the area.
That was the good news. The bad news was Houston in August is HOT. It’s also muggy and sticky and you just can’t wait for October to arrive. Or maybe September.
Two years ago, we traveled to Lubbock for a Western Writers of America conference. I was reluctant to go in the summer, but it turned out to be a really great trip—hot but dry. We visited the Museum of Texas Tech and met some fun people, including old-time movie star, Barry Corbin, who’s been in everything from Urban Cowboy to The Best Little Whore House in Texas.
For the past few years, I’ve been setting my stories in Dallas, one of my favorite cities. In THE CONSPIRACY Harper Winston’s brother has disappeared. Desperate to find him, Harper is forced turn to the wealthy owner of Maximum Security, private detective, Chase Garrett, once her brother’s best friend.
But dealing with the Winston crime family won’t be easy. With time running out, Chase must find a way to keep Harper safe…and both of them alive.
Texas is a place that captured my soul long ago. If you don’t have time to visit, I hope you look for Harper and Chase in THE CONSPIRACY, out in paperback July 30th, and that you enjoy.
Till next time, all best and happy reading, Kat
New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel,BEYOND CONTROL, hit both big lists … NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST as well as the USA TODAY BEST-SELLING BOOKS LIST. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.
by Kat Martin
In the throes of wild monkey sex with Harper Winston, Chase awoke covered in a film of perspiration, an unwelcome throbbing beneath the sheet. Cursing, he sat up in bed and ran a hand over his face. Only a dream. Or in this case, a nightmare.
He shoved his fingers through his sweat-damp hair. Jesus God, he couldn’t remember a dream that had felt more real. Or ever being more aroused.
Swearing foully, he rolled out of bed. His brother Bran would get an I-told-you-so laugh out of his misery, but Chase didn’t find his unwanted attraction to a Winston the least bit funny.
Not when Harper’s father ran his world much like a Mafia don, a highly successful criminal enterprise that allowed him to get away with murder—literally. Everyone in the Dallas underworld knew that to cross Knox Winston might get you dead. The DA’s office turned a blind eye, along with the dirty cops on Knox’s payroll.
Aside from the legitimate businesses Knox now ran—from motels, restaurants, and laundries, to larger enterprises like hotel chains, no one really seemed to know how Knox had actually amassed his fortune. Since his son had once been Chase’s best friend, Chase didn’t want to know, either.
He wondered how much Harper knew about her father’s activities. Not much, he would guess, since Knox had gone to great lengths to keep his children under the illusion he was just a mega-successful businessman. And Harper had been gone from Dallas for years.
Chase had a hunch Michael had suspected, that it was part of the reason he had turned to alcohol and drugs, but they had never talked about it.
Padding naked into the bathroom, he reached into the shower and turned on the water, setting the temperature a little colder than he liked. He wanted to wash Harper’s beautiful face out of his head, the memory of her small, perfect breasts that—thank God—he had never actually seen.
Pulling on his jeans and a short-sleeved yellow Oxford shirt, he was ready to meet with Dutch, who had arranged a boat to Curacao. They could have gone by plane, but he wanted the flexibility to check, if necessary, other spots around the island once they got there.
He wished he was going by himself instead of dragging a woman into what might turn out to be a bad situation. But as he walked into the living room, Harper came out of the other bedroom, straw hat in hand, dressed and ready to go. His mind flashed back to the hot, erotic dream, and a shot of lust hit him like a fist.
Chase dragged in a lungful of air and forced himself to think of something else. Palm trees might have worked if she hadn’t walked close enough for him to catch a whiff of her soft perfume.
“Good morning,” she said. “Sleep okay?”
Jesus God, help him. He didn’t want to think of the dream, refused to allow his mind to slide back into the gutter. Chase had never been more grateful to hear his iPhone ring.
Pulling his cell out of his pocket, he recognized Tabby’s number and pressed the phone against his ear. “What have you got for me, Tab?”
“Pia’s phone pinged at the Zee Winden Marina in Curacao, same as Michael’s. Both phones are now inactive.”
Not good. He could contact the authorities in Curacao, but he could probably be there before the investigation—such as it would likely be—actually got underway. And once he got the police involved it would limit what he would be able to do.
“Not at the moment. If I get something I’ll call.”
“Thanks, Tab. You’re the best.” Chase hung up the phone, his mind back on the case. In his business, the job had to come first. People’s lives depended on it.
“What did she say?” Harper asked.
“Zee Winden Marina in Curacao, same as your brother. Call Christy and tell her, then pack an overnight bag. We might not get back tonight.”
So saying, he grabbed the duffle, now packed, he had brought empty in his carryon, something smaller, a little easier to manage. Just a dupe kit, clean underwear, a dress shirt and slacks, high-topped boots and cargo pants, things that might be useful as they moved into uncharted territory, where his search for Michael might lead.
A few minutes later, Harper walked back into the living room carrying the colorful oversized canvas bag she had carried onto the plane. It was stuffed full and zipped shut ready to go. She had pulled her hair into a ponytail, but flyaway pale blond strands floated around her face, gleaming like pale spun gold.
The heat returned to his groin. Dammit, what was there about her?
Harper Winston’s brother has disappeared. Pursuing his dream of sailing the Caribbean, Michael hasn’t responded to texts or emails in days. When even the Coast Guard can’t find him, Harper is forced to take desperate measures. Which means going to Chase Garrett, once her brother’s best friend, now the only man she can trust…or so she hopes.
As the successful owner of Maximum Security, Chase has learned to trust his gut. He knows Harper’s father is mixed up in a deadly business, and suspects there’s more to Michael’s disappearance than meets the eye. Getting involved again with the Winstons goes against everything he stands for, yet old loyalties die hard. As the case draws him closer to Harper and deeper into the Winstons’ snarled crime family, he is forced to put everything on the line to keep Harper safe…and both of them alive.
New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, BEYOND CONTROL, hit both big lists … NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST as well as the USA TODAY BEST-SELLING BOOKS LIST. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.
Her November 1st release is WAIT UNTIL DARK.
P.I. Jonah Wolfe knows trouble when he sees it. So when April Vale storms into his office at Maximum Security, all his warning signs flash red. April’s been accused of murder, except she has no memory of how she woke up in her coworker’s bed–drenched in his blood–shot with her gun. As the campaign manager for the mayor, April’s job is on the line. Even worse, her life may be on the line if she doesn’t figure out who’s trying to frame her.
The clock is ticking and the pair must find the killer… before April winds up dead.
The sound of voices cut through the pounding in her head, dragging her from a dark void into the light of day. As uniformed policemen streamed into the bedroom, April Vale looked down at her naked body and saw a sea of blood soaking the mattress. A naked man lay beside her, a bullet hole in the center of his chest.
A scream tore free as she recognized David Dean, Mayor Rydell’s campaign manager. Then strong arms hauled her upright and a wave of dizziness hit her, making her stomach roll. One of the officers draped a blanket around her bare shoulders and they hustled her over to a chair by the window.
Fighting a fresh wave of nausea, April gripped the blanket, her body shaking head to foot. “What…what’s happening?” She didn’t realize her hands were being cuffed together in front of her until she heard metal clanking and cold bands of steel wrapped around her wrists.
“What’s your name?” The room swarmed with policemen. The one in front of her was stocky and balding, in his early forties. A pair of EMTs rushed into the room and began working over the bloody man on the bed, but his eyes were open and staring at nothing and she knew he was already dead.
April swallowed the bile in her throat and fought to clear her head, but when she tried to remember where she was or how she got there, all she came up with was a blank.
“I don’t understand what’s happening,” she said, trying to keep the blanket around her.
“This will all go smoother if you cooperate,” the stocky policeman said. “Tell us your name.”
“I’m…I’m April. April Vale.” She glanced over at David. The hole in his chest seemed even bigger and bloodier than before.
“Can you tell us the name of the victim?”
Victim. A thick lump rose in her throat, threatening to choke her. “That…that’s David Dean. We work for Mayor Rydell.”
A young officer with black hair slicked straight back from his forehead walked up. “Looks like we’ve got the murder weapon, Sarge. It was right there on the floor next to the lady’s purse.”
April frowned, her mind foggy again. “Wait…wait a minute. What’s going on? I don’t understand.” Her fingers tightened on the blanket, trying to keep it in place over her naked body. “I don’t know how I got here. I don’t remember what happened.”
A gray haired man in a navy blue suit brought the gun over in a plastic bag. She recognized the little .380 she carried for protection.
I’m Detective Sullivan. Does this belong to you, Ms. Vale?”
She took a deep breath. “I think it’s mine. I have one like that. I have a legal permit to carry.”
The EMTs began checking her over, her blood pressure, her vision, whether or not she had a concussion.
“We need to get her to the hospital,” one of them said, “have her checked out, get a blood sample.”
“Hospital? I don’t want to go to the hospital.”
A female police officer walked up just then. “We’ve cuffed your hands in front of you so you can hold onto the blanket. If you cooperate, we’ll leave them that way. If not, we’ll have to cuff them behind your back.”
She closed her eyes. This couldn’t be happening. “You think I shot him? I don’t even know how I got here.”
The woman’s expression never changed. “You need to go to the hospital. We need to make sure you’re okay. If you were drugged, it’ll show up in your tox screen.”
Tox screen. Drugs. Her pistol and a dead man.
That’s when it began to sink in how much trouble she was in. That’s when April’s brain finally started working and she began to figure out what she needed to do–before things got a whole lot worse.
At the sound of the glass front door swinging open, Jonah Wolfe looked up to see a tall, leggy redhead walk into the office.
“I hope she’s looking for me.” Jason Maddox, one of the country’s top bail enforcement agents and one of Jonah’s best friends, had an eye for beautiful women. This one definitely met Jase’s exacting standards.
But being a former undercover police officer, Jonah noticed more than her stunning face and figure. Her hands were shaking as she approached the receptionist desk and her face was pale. He wondered what kind of trouble the lady was in.
“May I help you?” The receptionist, Mindy Stewart, shoved up the tortoiseshell glasses perched on the end of her nose. She was petite and cute, and smart enough not to date any of the confirmed bachelors who worked at Maximum Security.
“My name is April Vale. I’m looking for Jonah Wolfe.”
When Maddox groaned his disappointment, Jonah’s focus sharpened on the redhead. He rose from behind his desk and started toward the front of the office. A waiting area with a dark red tufted leather sofa and matching chairs, oak coffee and end tables, gave the place a western feel that perfectly suited the misfit Texans who worked there.
“I’m Wolfe,” Jonah said when he reached her. “What can I do for you?” His gaze ran over her, taking in her spectacular curves. He couldn’t help hoping she needed him for something a lot more intriguing than his skills as a private detective.
He might have smiled, would have if a TROUBLE sign wasn’t stamped in the middle of the pretty lady’s forehead.
“My name is April Vale. Thank you for seeing me.
“No need to thank me, Ms. Vale. I haven’t done anything yet.”
“I’m hoping you will.” She had the face of an angel and legs that went on forever. But she was a redhead and all that fiery hair just ramped up the warning signs flashing in her big blue eyes.
“Is there somewhere we can speak in private?” April asked.
“Conference room. Follow me.” As he led her down the hall, she caught an appreciative glance from Jax Ryker and Dante Romero, the only other guys currently in the office, but she didn’t seem to notice.
“This way.” Jonah held open the door to a glass-walled chamber with a long oak table seating twenty. April walked in and he waited for her to take a seat.
She smoothed the navy blue pencil skirt she was wearing with a pair of sky high heels. She looked good. Classy but not completely untouchable. “As I said, I appreciate your seeing me on such short notice.”
“Not a problem.” Jonah leaned back in his chair. “All right, April, why don’t you tell me why you’re here?”
She took a deep breath, drawing his attention to the full breasts he’d been doing his best to ignore. Since he never mixed business with pleasure, he shoved the buzz of attraction he was feeling to the back of his brain.
“I work for Mayor Rydell,” April said. “Currently I’m…. I was just released from police custody a short time ago, Mr. Wolfe. That’s…that’s why I’m here.”
Jonah straightened in his chair. “You were under arrest?”
“Officially, I haven’t been charged yet. But the charge could be murder.”
Jesus. He hadn’t seen that one coming. Now she really had his attention. Jonah leaned toward her. “So who did you kill, Ms. Vale?”
When Victoria Bradford got engaged, she told herself to give love a chance. Six months later, she’s on the run from her angry, abusive ex-fiancé with her four-year-old daughter and nowhere to go.
Seventy miles north of Dallas, the Iron River Ranch is pretty much nowhere. That’s what its new owner, Josh Cain, wanted when he came back from Afghanistan. Big skies, quiet nights, no trouble.
One look tells Josh the pretty redhead with the adorable little girl will give him trouble of the most personal kind. But he’s seen trouble before, and he doesn’t scare easy. Not when “accidents” start happening around the ranch. Not when Tory’s best friend back in Phoenix is abducted and brutalized. Not even when it looks like their current problems are only the tip of the iceberg.
But if he gets too close to fierce, determined Tory, Josh knows his nights are going to be anything but quiet. And that’s one possibility no amount of training can prepare him for . . .
In this book, Kat Martin weaves together compelling characters and well-crafted plots, all to culminate in a thrilling, immensely satisfying ending.
When Josh Cain meets Tory Ford (aka Victoria Bradford), he quite likes her fiery red hair and cute behind. But that’s after we’ve already seen Tory’s true worth: her strength and courage shine through in the opening scene when she stands up to her monster of a fiancé Damon, a man who believes he owns Tory lock, stock, and barrel. Tory survives his nearly fatal beating, escapes, and keeps on surviving.
Once she gets to the Iron River Ranch, the attraction between Tory and Josh simmers and sizzles. We get heart-wrenching and thought-provoking glimpses into Josh’s heroic military career, a career that haunts him… in more ways than one. We meet the tough and charming Clara Thompson, the baby-sitting neighbor who can be trusted to the hills and back. We get to know the eminently likable Cole and Noah, former marines who work on Josh’s ranch. And we are introduced to Satan’s Star, a troubled stallion who has suffered, like Tory, at the hands of an abusive man.
But this warm, romantic, and exciting story becomes chilling as chapters from Damon’s POV begin creeping in as he hunts for Tory. He beats women, rapes women, and kills with abandon. When Damon gleefully and arrogantly kidnaps and rapes one of his victims, this scene is intercut with the sexual culmination of the flirtation between Tory and Josh. While the juxtaposition of sickening brutality with incandescent romance is viscerally disturbing, it is also ingenious in how it undercuts the romance, shifting the focus of the book away from the relationship between Tory and Josh and onto the battles both are facing as they try to elude and conquer the bad guys in their lives. The lovers must stop the villains and the story kicks into hyper-drive.
Josh’s friends and family circle around Josh and Tory, helping them both ward off and fight the evil blasting at them from all directions. The camaraderie is heartwarming; the suspense is so compelling it will have you flipping pages with the speed of a stallion.
And the ending? It is breath-taking, comprised of brilliance and absolute perfection in the narrative. And even to hint at it would be to do this tightly woven story a disservice.
Beyond Control is available in two days, on May 29. Happy reading! Pre-Order here.
One of the questions I’m commonly asked is how do you write dialogue? No question, dialogue between characters can be tricky. Each character has a unique voice that is distinct from others in the book.
Since I’ve never been particularly good at description, letting the characters tell the story is my favorite way to craft a novel.
Of course there has to be narration, ways to move the story forward and set the scene. A lot of writers simply have a different way of telling a tale, maybe through a single character’s actions and observations or just a majority of narrative. But if you want to move the book forward through dialog, here are a few helpful tricks.
First, enter the scene late and leave early. Readers don’t want to hear “How are you?” “I am fine.”
Second, once the characters start talking, let them talk—you can always delete or alter the conversation later. But the fun is in hearing what the characters have to say.
Third, something I’m careful about, try not to overwork unfinished sentences. “What do you mean you didn’t—“ Or “I don’t think you should—“ What? Readers can’t read minds. Yes, this is how people talk in real life, but your job is to make it sound like real conversation while it’s actually more fleshed out, easier to understand.
Fourth, be sure to use contractions to make the character’s speech sound more real. Unless you have a character who says things like “I cannot do that,” use “can’t” or “won’t,” or “don’t” or whatever.
So now that you know some of tricks, you just have to listen to your characters and get them talking in your head—which I think is at least partly determined by how you describe them.
Once I sat in front of the post office with the car windows rolled up and tried to hear the voice of every person walking out. It was amazing—no two voices sounded the same! A strange story but true.
So listen to the voices in your head. That’s my best advice. And just keep writing. It gets easier as you go along.
Bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, in Missoula, Montana, Kat has written sixty eight Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel is BEYOND CONTROL, which will be released May 29th.
Victoria Bradford and her four-year old daughter are on the run from Tory’s abusive ex-fiancé. Seventy miles north of Dallas, the Iron River Ranch is pretty much nowhere, exactly what Josh Cain wanted when he came back from Afghanistan. Big skies, quiet nights, no trouble.
When Tory shows up with her adorable little girl, Josh realizes he is in for trouble of the most personal kind. But Josh has seen trouble before, and he doesn’t scare easy. Not when “accidents” start happening around the ranch. Not when Tory’s best friend is abducted. Not even when he realizes their troubles are only the tip of the iceberg.
To CELEBRATE the release of BEYOND CONTROL, enter Kat’s new contest for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB and a Kindle copy of AGAINST THE WIND, AGAINST THE FIRE and AGAINST THE LAW.
Special Contest runs from May 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018.
SPECIAL CONTEST: https://www.katmartin.com/beyond-control-giveaway/
Monthly Contests: https://www.katmartin.com/monthly-contest/
Can a gentleman be too charming? The ladies of Upper Upton think so.More info →