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Out of Uniform
by Katee Robert
School teacher Marceline Bellini gave up everything—men, sex, anything resembling a social life—to raise her young daughter. To be the perfect parent. But when she attends an engagement party in her standard stick-in-the-mud mode, her friends begin plying Marceline with shots. Just enough to convince her that a little fun doesn't sound like a bad idea... and having some naughty fun is an even better one.
Like finding herself deliciously pressed against a dark alley wall by the very familiar and über-hot bod of her best friend's older brother.
After years of waiting in painful silence, cop Zach Robinson finally has Marceline’s attention. And man, does he have it. But nothing could have prepared either of them for the rush of fiery lust between them. So he’ll just have to convince Marceline he’s for real. And that a rainy, lust-fuelled romp is the first step to a lifetime of completely imperfect happiness…
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Thank you so much for sitting down with Toot's for an interview. If you don't mind, I have some questions for you about your new novella, His to Keep and your process for our budding authors as well as fans.
So first off, His to Keep Questions.......
In your own words, what is His to Keep about?
His to Keep is about a single mom who’s put herself on the shelf, so to speak, and the man determined to be the one to take her off it—permanently.
How did you come up with the title of the novella and can you tell us its significance?
I’m notoriously terrible with titles, so this was a freak thing that was in the middle of a list that had winning suggestions such as “Hot For Teacher” (and this is why I can’t have nice things). It’s a fitting title because my hero, Aaron, is playing for keeps. He’s wanted Marceline for nearly ten years, and he’s finally got a chance to be the man in her life.
Is His to Keep a standalone novella or will it be part of a series?
His to Keep is book #1.5 in my Out of Uniform series. All the heroes are either military, former military, or cops, and they’re all hot as hell.
What genre would you say His to Keep is and what sets your novella apart for fans of the genre?
His to Keep is a sexy-sweet contemporary novella. It’s a fun take on the traditional trope of Best Friend’s Older Brother, and the heroine being a single mom takes things to a different level.
What was your favorite scene to write for either your hero or heroine in His to Keep?
There’s this scene after they’ve hooked up for the first time. She’s on her way home—panicking—and realizes she left her purse behind at the bar…right as he drives up, determined to return it to her. He knows she’s panicking, and he gets her to admit that she was thinking about moving out of town to avoid seeing him again. It’s priceless.
What was the hardest scene to write?
The beginning. Beginnings are always tough for me, and this novella was no different. It’s hard to get the right balance that will pull readers in (thank God for my patient editor. One day I WILL get it right!).
What's your favorite line or quote from this novella?
It’s one that the hero says to the heroine right after he tells the guy she was talking to to get lost:
“The only mistake you made was thinking I’d let you walk out of here with another man.”
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated and what made you decide to pursue it as a career?
I’ve been in love with story telling for as long as I can remember. My grandparents were instrumental in creating that love. My grandmother read to me constantly (I think we went through Heidi half a million times) and my grandfather used to make up epic adventures that the three bears would go on. They were actually the first two who I told that I was going to start writing with the intent to get published. My grandmother told me, “It took you long enough!”
What inspires you to put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard?
It all boils down to the question: What if? What if this kind of man met this kind of woman? What would happen then? What if people in the future were all ruled by one religion or another? What if one of those could tell the future using tarot cards? I start wondering what would happen in certain scenarios and then I just run with it.
What are some of the elements in/of your writing process?
It’s different with every book, though there are a few constants. Whatever season it is outside, I need a hot beverage of some sort while I’m compiling a story, and I’ve gotten into the habit of never writing the final chapter the first time through a book.
Are you a Plotter or a Panster?
I’m a combo of the two. I usually have the major beats of the story planned out ahead of time, but the rest is sheer pantsing.
Have you released anything under a different pen name, and if so, is there any difference between them?
Not yet, but who knows what the future might hold ;)
What's next for you?
I have the rest of the Out of Uniform series (2 more books and 1 novella), as well as a seriously continuity series that happens as a wedding with Laura Kaye, Samanthe Beck, Tessa Bailey, and Diane Alberts.
Is there anything you’d like to add or say to your fans?
My fans are the best. I know everyone says that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. I am so incredibly grateful for the people who enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them, and who keep coming back for more. It’s the most humbling and amazing experience to know they’re out there.
Now I know this is like asking you to choose between your own children, but out of all your amazing characters, who is your favorite and why?
My favorite is one that most people have barely seen yet. His name is Oberon and he’s the Big Bad in my sci-fi series, Sanctify. The man takes over every scene he’s in to the point where I’m actually giving him his own story eventually. Talk about a magnetic personality!
Are there any of your stories or characters that hold a special place in your heart?
They all do. Every single book I write teaches me something and challenges me in a unique way. They’re all part of my journey, and I’m grateful for all of them.
If the novella had to have a theme song, what would it be?
Ohhhh! That’s a good question. I think it’d have to be Tyler Farr’s Whiskey in My Water. It makes me think of Aaron every time.
Lastly, let's steal an idea from the magazines.....What 5 things do fans not know about you and 5 they don't know about the novella?
Let’s see… Five about me:
- I have a serious obsession with villains, especially the ones who scare me a little. Hannibal? Loki? They flat out do it for me.
- I love pink and sparkly EVERYTHING.
- I pretty much never know what day it is. I have to cross the days off my calendar to keep track or I’d be lost all the time (and, let’s be honest, I’m still lost half the time).
- I love that silly song #SELFIE. A lot. I can’t stop singing it.
- I want to write a novel with a serial killer as the main character. A lady serial killer. *See first fact haha
Five about the novella:
- It was totally unplanned, but it’s spawned a second novella with a character I didn’t know existed until Marceline ran into him at the bar.
- There’s a scene in it that was inspired by Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon bickering in This Means War.
- I pictured Aaron as Rob Kazinsky, which made me go out and watch the entire season of True Blood that he’s in (which traumatized me a bit).
- Mrs. Coulson’s last name was inspired by Phil Coulson in the Marvel movies. He’s a favorite of mine.
- I listened solely to country music (heavy on Tyler Farr and Dustin Lynch) while writing this book.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking time to answer some questions. Congratulations on the new novella and I can't wait for everyone to read it!
Thank you so much for having me!!
Though she dabbled in writing, life got in the way—as it often does—and she spent a few years traveling, living in both Philadelphia and Germany. In between traveling and raising her two wee ones, she had the crazy idea that she’d like to write a book and try to get published.
Her first novel was an epic fantasy that, God willing, will never see the light of day. From there, she dabbled in YA and horror, before finally finding speculative romance. Because, really, who wouldn’t want to write entire books about the smoking-hot relationships between two people?
She now spends her time—when not lost in Far Reach worlds—playing imaginary games with her wee ones, writing, ogling men, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
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