Today is one of my favorite blog post days of the year. It’s the day the Kiss and Thrill authors introduce the 2016 Golden Heart Romantic Suspense finalists. And this year’s RS class includes two previous winners and a double finalist. All of the stories are different with as many twists and turns as a Daphne Du Maurier novel. And they all sound wonderful!
Because I know many of these women personally, the following list is in alphabetical order by author last name. 🙂
Diana Belchase is celebrating her third Golden Heart nomination. The first book in her Born to Spy series, The Spy in the Mirror, won the Golden Heart in 2011. Escape from the Harem, a sequel to The Spy in the Mirror, is a finalist in this year’s Romantic Suspense Category.
Sent on a cruise ship as bait for a ring of kidnappers, Trina Bianchi has been guaranteed the trackers in her clothing, and the team of operatives following her, will keep her safe. When the mission goes haywire, she ends up abducted for real— imprisoned in a Sultan’s harem along with seven other American women.
Armed with nothing more deadly than a steak knife, Trina must rescue her fellow captives. But when she makes the ultimate sacrifice, only her boyfriend, billionaire Preston Grahame, can save her and help her bring a terrorist to his knees.
SW: What a great premise, Diana! Can you tell us more about how you came up with it?
DB: I love spy stories and am seriously addicted to James Bond. But something about male spies leaves me yearning for more. Why is Bond such a womanizer? What happened to his late wife? I wanted to write a story with an alpha female who has problems in life like we all do — best friends with breakups, dating quandaries, and family issues. She is also the character that lets me explore all the things in life I’m too scared to do — skydiving, climbing mountains, wearing slinky dresses and dancing with mysterious men. It’s been a hoot writing this story and I can’t wait to see my characters finally come to life when the book gets published.
Our next finalist, Tracy Brody, won the Golden Hear in 2015 and this year she’s a double finalist in both the Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance categories.
THE SNIPER’S SECOND SHOT – Contemporary Romance:
Bruce Thompson is a horse trainer who runs a therapy program for amputee vets. He has no interest in another relationship after the tragic death of his wife. That is, until Sarah shows up and jump-starts his guarded heart. But Sarah has secrets, and he intends to find out what threat might follow her to the farm. His protective claws come out as he is determined to keep her and his clients safe.
While Sarah and Bruce fight their sizzling attraction, an unknown threat lurks in the midst. This one, closer to home. Will they find love and uncover the deadly plots before it’s too late?
SW: I love Women in Jeopardy novels! Can you give us a hint as to where it takes place?
DH: An interesting fact is that I am an avid boater and love the beach. I drew on my experience of boating on the Chesapeake bay to describe some of the romantic scenes in the book.
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Arianna James is next with her book The Truth is in the Tango
Simone Richman is a by-the-book CIA operative, but when her sister is facing jail time after being conned out of over a million dollars of her employer’s money, Simone’s family loyalty forces her into a rogue mission to track down the missing funds. A money trace leads her to the Buenos Aires-based company of Nate Beldin, a man suspected of conning the rich and powerful out of art, jewelry, and cold hard cash until he supposedly gave it all up to walk the straight and narrow. When Simone gets to Argentina, she finds the situation is far more sinister than a simple con job—with Nate at the center of it. And as she gets to know him, delving deeper into his past and present, one thing becomes painfully clear: she’ll have to choose between her love of the law and the love of her life.
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Our next finalist is Melanie Novak with her book Ruby Red.
When a multi-million dollar ruby belonging to Marie Antoinette is stolen from Lamont Auction House, Addison Merritt’s career—and the survival of the boutique house—is on the line. Addison teams up with sexy U.S. Marshal Michael Wright, but they are not the only ones looking for Rosette’s Ruby.
And others are willing to kill for it.
As the danger mounts and time runs out, Addison takes a bold gamble and risks everything—including her heart—to recover the ruby.
SW: I love books with historical mysteries woven in. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?
MN: I first got the idea to write a novel about a female auctioneer after spending a few Saturdays on the western Pennsylvania estate auction circuit. I was helping friends auction off the contents of some very old, very beautiful country homes and farms. I was fascinated by the things people would buy. I saw a man in his fifties buy ten boxes of dirty naked baby dolls. I saw women pay hundreds of dollars for antique salt and pepper shakers. The auctioneers had the incredible ability to whip people into bidding wars over everything from gorgeous hand carved furniture to broken VCRs. This was a unique skill. The ability to determine an item’s worth, the showmanship, the fast talking. And what did it say, all those items being passed from one estate to another?
I thought for sure there was a book there. But Ruby Red came out much different than I’d first imagined. My heroine, Addison Merritt, auctions off historical artifacts, famous paintings, and one-of-a-kind jewels to the aristocrats of New York. The book became about how she refused to let her career—or her life—go under when she discovers that the most valuable piece in her collection—a ruby once belonging to Marie Antoinette—is stolen. It became a novel about bad guys and car chases instead of a quiet novel about what happens to our possessions after we’re gone.
But I still like to imagine Addison, long before the novel opens, cutting her teeth and learning her craft selling log splitters, snow shovels, and costume jewelry to those bidding in five and ten dollar increments rather than millions. And I’m still mad I couldn’t figure out a way to work those dirty naked baby dolls in.
Finally, I ‘d like to welcome Layla Reyne and her book Four Tragedies.
Congratulations to the 2016 Golden Heart Romantic Suspense finalists!
Now it’s your turn? What is your favorite type of Romantic Suspense story?