Hi, everyone! To start off the new year, I thought I’d go outside of my usual romance subgenres and try a new one: romantic suspense! Now, I read a description of Razing Kayne and it looked like it was about a guy who lost his whole family. I thought, “Oh boy, this is going to be a real laugh riot…NOT!” I thought about maybe passing on reading this book, and HOLY COW, am I glad I didn’t! It wasn’t just about a guy who lost his family. It’s also about him coming back from the edge and appreciating beauty in this life and a lot of other good stuff too. This book was stupid good! Let me tell you why…
Publication Date: November 20, 2012 Length: 418 pages Genre: Romantic Suspense Series: Walking a Thin Blue Line, Book 1 Publisher: Self-Published (Hellsgate Publishing) Source & Format: Review copy provided by the author; digital Official Summary For two years, State Trooper Kayne Dobrescu has wanted only one thing: to understand why his wife inexplicably killed their children and then herself. Memories haunt his days and lay siege to his nights, leaving him questioning his reasons for living. Jessica Hallstatt became a widow and single mother the night her firefighter husband died in a fiery explosion at an accident scene. While her husband may have died a hero, he left Jessica with deep emotional scars that haven’t begun to heal. When Kayne accepted a transfer to the mountain town of Payson, Arizona, he never expected to meet anyone like Jessica. From the moment he pulled her over for speeding, he was drawn in by her whiskey colored eyes and sassy dimple. But she and her children are a forever type package, and he’s vowed never to give anyone the power to destroy him again. Yet fate has other ideas, throwing Kayne and Jessica together in a fight against an unknown enemy to save the life of a child—and hopefully one another. Warning: Contains graphic language, explicit sex and one very hot man in uniform.
Let me start with the book’s namesake: State Trooper Kayne Dobrescu. We first meet him on the worst day of his life. He walks in and sees two of his kids on the floor of the bathroom, wet and not breathing, and his wife sitting nearby. Things go from awful to even more awful right away, and I think that anyone who has young kids at home would find this first chapter really hard to read. Kayne is Russian by birth and, in some ways, he is a stereotypical Russian: huge, stoic, strong. But we also see a really caring, soft side to him while he still manages to keep his tough-guy image firmly intact.
Jessica Hallstatt is one hell of a woman. She had a rough first marriage, but she has four amazing children and is a phenomenal mom. I loved the interaction between Jess and her kids because the kids are so freaking adorable! Jess does volunteer work that is really important to her. She also rents out the mansion she lives in for weddings and stuff like that which serves as her income. I mean, this chick has it together! But it always seems like that, doesn’t it? And yet it’s never that simple. Jess has had a lot of obstacles to overcome and she has many more to come.
Kayne and Jessica meet when he pulls her over for speeding late at night. Of course he lets her go without a ticket, but we all know he doesn’t REALLY let her go! He actually forgets to give her driver’s license and registration back to her so, luckily, he has a reason to see her again. When he drops her items off at her house, he’s sucked into the fun family chaos right away. Jess’s daughter, Gracie, immediately grabs Kayne’s heart because she looks so much like one of his children. Oh and probably because she’s so damn cute, too! And from there, they’re off!
Kayne and Jess have good times and bad times and awful times. This story veers off into directions I never would have guessed at the beginning. Maybe I’ve been reading too much “regular romance” but I never saw some of these plot points coming – although some were a bit long and meandering and didn’t really add a lot to the story. But, oh my goodness, there is so much action at the end! I chewed up half of my nails reading this dang book!
I haven’t even mentioned Sexy Time yet. Let me tell you…the Sexy Time in this book will blow your mind. It was so hot. It was white hot! It may be Melt-Your-Face-Off hot!Bottom Line
I thoroughly enjoyed Razing Kayne. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes murder mystery-type books that might want a little more spice. The romance is not obvious, not overt. But be careful because it’s still really hot.
Wine/Beverage Pairing: Ice water to cool off from the super hot Sexy Time! Just kidding. Instead, let’s do a Screwdriver. Vodka in honor of all the Russian aspects of the story and orange juice since it’s cold and flu season!Buy Print: Amazon
Interview with Julieanne Reeves
Liz from K&W: Hi, Julieanne. Thanks so much for being on Kindles & Wine today! When I read books with any kind of first-responder-type person (e.g. police officer, firefighter, etc.), I always wonder, why? So now that I have the chance, I’m going to ask: Why did you decide to write a book/series featuring police officers?
Julieanne Reeves: Good morning, Liz! I want to start by saying I’m thrilled that you enjoyed my book, and I’m honored to be here with you today. I’ve only done a couple interviews so they still intimidate me. I hope you’ll go easy on me. *grin*
Why first-responder/emergency personnel? I guess the simplest answer to that question is that it’s the world I know. You see, I’m a former police/fire/911 dispatcher so I have a treasure-trove of personal and professional experience to pull from for inspiration. As such, romantic suspense was a natural fit for me.
Liz: Hmm, go easy on you? NO WAY! Just kidding! Wow, a dispatcher. That’s kind of a lot of pressure! But I bet you meet some really cool people in that line of work. Are any of the characters in Razing Kayne based on anyone you know?
Julieanne: Yes and no. Take Kayne for example. He’s not based on any one person I know, but his personality—his professionalism, integrity, sense of honor, family values—was inspired by many of the incredible officers I’ve had an opportunity to work with over the years.
Pedro Marugan, the inspiration/eye candy for Kayne and cover model.
His wife Oksana’s backstory was inspired by a third-party account of a young Russian woman—the storyteller’s younger cousin—who went through some similar circumstances. And, I think every character has a little bit of the author inside of them. It’s impossible to put your heart and soul into something and not leave a little bit of yourself behind.
Liz: Oh my gosh, that was based on a true story? How horrible! All of those men, vying for power…Grrr. But enough bad stuff, on to the GOOD stuff. In the book, the police and the firefighters occasionally have a playful rivalry. Do you find this to be true in reality?
Julieanne: Oh, heck yeah. Police and firefighters enjoy playing practical jokes on each other. Not that I have any direct knowledge of these antics myself. *looks around innocently* Many agencies, Payson’s included, participate in Guns vs. Hoses Grudge Match charity sporting events. The antics can get pretty crazy and entertaining, but all in fun and for a great cause.
Liz: I am SO not surprised. My brother is a firefighter and he’s a serious prankster. In fact, he may have a medal for it, LOL! Anyway, one thing I loved in the book is all the Russian stuff. I think Russia is so mysterious and it plays a prominent role in this novel; is there any particular reason you chose Russia for Kayne’s heritage?
Julieanne: Oh, gosh. There are several reasons, and I’m not sure I can fully answer this without a spoiler, but I’m gonna try.
Kayne was born in Belarus, which was part of the Soviet Union at that time, and lived in Russia until, at age six, he emigrated with his mother to the US. The honest truth is he could have been from anywhere. The circumstances of his existence and childhood are not limited to places like Russia. But he needed to have an empathy and connection to Oksana that could not have happened had he been from any other place. After all, the story revolves around Oksana and why she murdered their children before committing suicide.
Liz: I understand that Razing Kayne is book one of your new Walking a Thin Blue Line series. What can we expect from you next and, more importantly, WHEN can we expect it?
In the epilogue of Razing Kayne we get a glimpse of what Nick is up to. Nick’s ex-partner has died, and the partner’s widow, Sarah, is in trouble. So, Nick is headed to Texas determined to do anything necessary to help Sarah and her children. Especially when he learns the truth about Sarah’s violent relationship with her husband—something we learn about in the prologue of Nick of Time—and realizes that he could have prevented it all. At least in his own mind.
I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled with this book. It hits on a heavy subject. The heroine, Sarah, is a survivor of spousal/intimate-partner rape and domestic violence. I’m trying very hard to tell her story in a way that is respectful to all of the real-life survivors who have walked in her shoes. It’s not glossed over. She isn’t the exception to the rule; bad shit happened to her. But Nick has some strong shoulders and an awesome group of people—who we met in Razing Kayne—for backup, and he’s gonna do everything in his power to make sure no one ever hurts her again, or die trying.
Liz: That’s sounds amazing, and I love that you’re trying to be respectful to survivors. Your bio says that you like to spend time outdoors. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
Julieanne: I’ve always loved hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, even camping. My granddad raised me to be a bit of a tomboy. Now days, with small children, I’m happy to get out to the local park and let them run wild while I soak up some sun.
Liz: Mmm, that sounds fun! But camping…eh, I’m not so sure about that. Don’t want to get TOO close to nature, know what I mean? LOL! So, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
Julieanne: Honestly, I really do love the real-life town of Payson, Arizona. It’s an incredible little mountain community of about 12,000 people surrounded by a few smaller towns and millions of acres of Forest Service land. If you like the great outdoors, it’s incredible. If you don’t, you’re only about 90 minutes from some great big-city culture, nightlife and shopping. It’s the best of both worlds. And the 5-minute average commute to work can’t be beat.
This was taken from the top of the fire station roof looking north toward the Mogollon Rim escarpment which rises about 2,000 feet above Payson.
Liz: Ha! Boy, that’s the truth! Of course, I can’t complain about my commute here in Columbia, SC. And Payson sounds awesome! I’m hoping to retire in Flagstaff someday.
OK, now, everyone interviewed on Kindles & Wine has to answer these last two questions: If you had to choose: Kindle/eBook or print? (Don’t worry, we don’t discriminate on the basis of preferred book format!)
Julieanne: That’s actually a tough one. I love the smell of old books. And by old I mean leather-bound, first edition antiques. As far as for reading purposes? I love my Kindle.
Liz: And finally, what’s your favorite kind of wine? Or, if you’re not a wine drinker, what’s your beverage of choice?
Julieanne: As a general rule, I don’t drink. I did try a Blackberry Merlot once that I really liked. I can’t tell you the name of it. Oh, and I like Marsala for cooking, does that count? Didn’t think so. *hangs head in shame* At least I’m a Kindle girl!
Liz, I have to say this has been a blast spending time with you. I love being able to share my work, and my background, with people. Thank you so much for having me here today.
Razing Kayne Giveaway
Julieanne is generously offering a signed print copy of Razing Kayne and a custom bookmark to ONE lucky Kindles & Wine reader.
She is also offering a digital copy of Razing Kayne to THREE additional Kindles & Wine readers!
To enter for your chance to win, you must:
- Be a follower of our blog (click the floating Follow button in the lower-right corner of your browser), AND
- Hit the comments and tell us: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
Please note: This contest will close on Friday, January 11 at 11:59 PM (CST) and the four winners will be notified via email on Saturday, January 12.ABOUT THE AUTHOR Julieanne Reeves is a third generation Arizonan with a background in police-fire-911 communications. When she’s not spending time spoiling her two wonderful children, she enjoys reading and writing steamy romantic suspense. Having had the privilege of working with some of the finest law enforcement officers in the nation, it’s little wonder her heroes carry a firearm and badge. Julieanne currently lives in the Phoenix-Metro area, but hopes to one day return to the mountain town that inspired her Walking A Thin Blue Line series. You can learn more at Julieanne’s website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.