Friday, March 2, 2018

Interview with Tara Thomas - Darkest Night

I'm so happy to be interviewing Tara Thomas who some of you might know as Tara Sue Me about the first novel in her brand new romantic suspense Sons of Broad series, Darkest Night. 
Enjoy!
ISBN-13: 9781250138002
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 2-27-2018
Length: 352pp
Sons of Broad #1
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible
ADD TO: GOODREADS
Overview:
SHE THOUGHT SHE’D LOST HIM FOREVERTilly Brock has learned—the hard way—how to take care of herself. Once a pillar of Charleston society, her family lost everything in the wake of a shocking scandal. And then Tilly lost the only boy she ever loved.
BUT NOW THAT HE’S BACK IN HER LIFEKeaton Benedict is Charleston’s most notorious bachelor. But in spite of all his advantages—the money, the women, the family name—he longs for more: the heart of the young woman he still can’t forget.
THE DANGER HAS JUST BEGUN…When Keaton re-enters Tilly’s life, after all these years, she is torn between feelings of doubt and desire. Can they put the past behind them and learn to love again? Tilly is willing to try. But Keaton is afraid that a vengeful enemy is watching—and waiting to destroy them. Can the rekindled flame of their love defeat the deadliest rival and light their way forward in the darkest night?




excerpt courtesy St. Martin's Press––

CHAPTER 1

As the youngest of three boys, Keaton Benedict was familiar with his older siblings using whatever means necessary to beat him at target practice. But as he stood and observed the target he’d missed completely on his last shot, he decided his oldest brother, Kipling, had hit a new low.
“Damn,” Kipling said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you miss something that bad. You do know you’re supposed to hit the circle in the middle, right?”
“Like you didn’t time your announcement to coincide perfectly with my shot.” Keaton unloaded his gun and watched while Kipling lined up his own shot and hit the exact center of the target. Keaton shook his head. “You know I’m a better shot than you. The only way you ever win is by cheating.”
Kipling grinned and started the process of unloading and cleaning his own weapon. “Now, that’s where you’re wrong. It wasn’t cheating. It was strategy. Cheating would have been if what I’d told you was a lie.”
Keaton had purposely focused on his brother’s actions as opposed to his words because part of him hoped he had been lying. Unfortunately, not only had he lost to Kipling but it appeared that the news he’d shared while Keaton was taking his shot was true.
“Elise is really coming to stay with us this summer?” Keaton asked.
Kipling ran his hand through his dirty blond hair that was just a touch lighter than Keaton’s own. All three of the Benedict brothers had the same coloring. Right down to the light brown eyes that looked almost golden in the right light. Keaton remembered when they were growing up how he wanted colored contacts because he got tired of people commenting on them all the time. Now he appreciated their eyes’ uniqueness.
“Yes,” Kipling said. “Her father asked if she could stay with us while she worked as an intern at a local law office. They sold their Charleston place when he retired and they moved to Pennsylvania.”
Keaton bit his tongue so he wouldn’t say what he wanted to. There was no way he could ever see Elise practicing law. For her entire life, she’d been groomed by her mother to be the perfect Southern lady and, in her mother’s eyes, perfect Southern ladies did not work. Especially as a lawyer. Odds were, the Germain family was simply using the internship as a way to get Elise to stay at Benedict House for the summer in the hopes that Keaton would see her potential as a wife and be unable to keep himself from proposing.
There was a zero-to-none chance of that happening, but the Germains were old family friends and he wouldn’t disrespect his brothers or his parents’ memory by being anything other than polite to Elise.
With their weapons unloaded and cleaned, they headed out of the shooting range at their country club and walked toward the bar. It was tradition for the losing brother to buy drinks. They snagged a few stools and Kipling ordered for both of them.
“It’s good to have you home,” Kipling said, and looked up when the bartender brought their drinks over. “Thank you.”
“You mean, it’s good that I can finally join the family business.”
“That, too.” Kipling didn’t try to hide his smile as he took a sip of his scotch.
As the oldest, Kipling ran the family shipping business, Benedict Industries. Though Kipling would beat Keaton’s ass for calling it a business. He always referred to it as an empire. The middle Benedict brother, Knox, also worked there and it was assumed Keaton would as well.
Keaton didn’t plan to buck the plan, so to say, but he didn’t relish joining the company the way it was assumed he would. However, now was not the time to bring it up.
“I’ve only been out of college for a week,” Keaton reminded him. “I’m still considering the possibilities.”
Kipling didn’t reply, but gave him that I know what you’re doing look that every older brother had down to an art. Keaton was almost ready to ask him when they could talk about his new potential role when a country club employee approached them.
As he drew near, Kipling frowned at the slender white box the man held.
“Mr. Kipling Benedict?” the employee asked.
“Yes,” Kipling replied, still eyeing the box.
“This was left at the reception desk for you.” The man held the box out, but Kipling didn’t take it.
“By whom?”
“No one saw them, sir.” He placed the box on the bar beside Kipling. “The employee working the desk had turned away and when she turned back, it was there.” He raised an eyebrow. “Is there a problem, sir?”
Kipling sighed. “No. No problem. Thank you.”
Keaton waited until the employee left. “What was that about?”
Kipling still hadn’t opened the box; he twisted the pale blue ribbon that sat on top. “It’s nothing, I’m sure. More of a nuisance than anything.”
Keaton wasn’t sure what he was talking about. “Have you gotten other white boxes with blue ribbon?”
“Yes.” Kipling untied the ribbon. “And if this one is like the others, it’ll contain a single rose.”
Sure enough, once he took the top off, a long-stem rose set nestled in white tissue paper. Keaton didn’t see a note. “Looks like someone has an admirer.”
Kipling reached under the tissue and pulled out a typed note. Wordlessly, he passed it Keaton.
There were only a few words typed on the thick card stock.
THE TIME HAS COME.
Keaton flipped it over but there was nothing on the other side. He looked up at Kipling. “What the hell does that mean?”
Kipling shrugged. “I don’t know, but they’ve all said the same thing.”
“How many have there been?”
“Half a dozen.” Kipling picked up the card. “They’ve always come to the office before. This is the first one that I’ve gotten outside.”
“I don’t like it.”
“Me neither, but it’s pretty harmless, all things considered.” Kipling gathered the rose and the wrappings, and asked the bartender to throw them away.
“Are you going to tell the police?” Keaton asked.
Kipling actually laughed. “What? That someone’s sending me roses? Yes, I’m sure that would go over really well.”
Keaton had to admit that on the surface, it would seem rather minor, but as they walked out of the club, he couldn’t help but notice Kipling looking around the parking lot. He had the uneasy feeling there was something bigger going on.
* * *
There were times The Gentleman was slightly irritated and times when he was mad as hell. But very rarely did he feel like he did today. Like he could skin someone alive with only a look.
His men gathered in the room behind him and he waited until he heard the door close before talking.
“Men, we have a problem and its name is Benedict. We are going to have to step up our plan. Take no prisoners. Show no mercy. As of today there is a new plan. The roses have laid the groundwork and they’re showing some concern, but the threat the family poses is growing bigger.
“The first step is to eliminate a problem I should have taken care of years ago. Unfortunately, this person isn’t a Benedict.”
There was a slight murmur behind him.
“Quiet,” he said, and the chatter stopped. “The people overseeing her removal have already been notified. If you all do your jobs, she won’t know what hit her and we can deal with the Benedicts once and for all.”
* * *
The end of the night was always Tilly Brock’s favorite time of day and not just because it meant she could go home. She loved how quiet the outside world was. She would step outside of what had been bustling chaos of the nightclub and into the quiet stillness of a sleeping world.
She also enjoyed the short moments she had while everybody was preparing to leave when she could chat with other employees. She was closest to the bartender, Raven. They were the same age, attended the same school, and planned to graduate at the same time. With the spring semester over, they both only had summer school to get through.
“Have you started the countdown yet?” Tilly asked Raven as the petite bartender wiped the countertops down.
“Are you kidding?” she replied with a grin. “I’ve been counting down since last August. Two more months and I walk out of this place forever. Maybe sooner.”
“How’s that?”
The introvert bartender’s eyes danced. “I have an interview coming up the day after tomorrow at Bergman and Biddle.”
Tilly recognized the name of the prestigious advertising agency. “That’s fabulous! How exciting. I bet you won’t miss this place at all.”Two blond dancers Tilly had dubbed the Wonder Twins sashayed their way past them. They had been working in the club for six months and they hated the fact that Tilly routinely got better tips and was able to keep her clothes on. Perhaps if they were better dancers, they could earn more. Club gossip alluded that they were only able to keep their positions because they provided “special services” for the managers.
“Good night, bar wenches,” Twin One said, and Twin Two laughed like it was the funniest joke she’d ever heard.
Raven rolled her eyes as the duo made their way out the door. “I definitely won’t miss them.”
“Right?” Tilly shook her head. “But then I tell myself every job will have difficult people and you never know what pain someone is hiding that makes them the way they are.”
“That’s why they hate you, you know. Because you’re a good person and everyone likes you.”
Tilly eyed the manager as he walked out of the office. “Not everyone.”
Raven lowered her voice as he approached. “He likes you. He just hates that he can’t get you to preform special favors for him.” She added air quotes around favors.
“The very thought makes me throw up in my mouth.” Tilly forced a smile as the manager stopped at the bar. “Good night, Mr. Granger.”
He grunted at Tilly and looked at Raven. “I’ve already locked the back. Make sure you lock the front door when you leave. It was unlocked when I got here this afternoon.”
“I don’t know how, sir,” Raven said. “I know I locked it last night.”
“Then why was it unlocked this afternoon?”
“Raven isn’t the only employee with a key,” Tilly said. She hadn’t worked the night before, but she knew Raven and there was no way her friend had forgotten to lock up.
“I wasn’t talking to you, girl.” He nodded toward Raven. “If it happens again, you’re fired.”
“But—” Raven started.
“No buts.” And with that, he turned and walked out.
“I know I locked that door,” Raven said when he’d left. “I know I did.”
“I’m sure you did.”
Raven bit her lip, looking like she wanted to say something, but shook her head.
“What?” Tilly asked.
“I’m sure it’s nothing, but when I left last night, there was a man standing outside. I didn’t see him until I’d locked up and turned around and nearly ran into him. He was all nice and everything. Kept apologizing. But that’s how I know I locked the door because he walked away and I double-checked.”
“That sounds creepy. He was just standing there?”
“But it wasn’t, really. Not after I got over the initial shock. He was nice. Wore a suit and everything. He was like someone’s dad.”
“I don’t care. I still don’t like it. You don’t need to be walking out after work by yourself.” She started to add that just because someone wore a suit didn’t mean they could be trusted, but didn’t. Raven was an adult. Tilly grabbed her purse from the barstool. “Ready?”
Neither one of them had a car, so they both took the bus to and from work. Tilly typically didn’t mind taking public transportation by herself, but tonight she was thankful for the company. Raven said she was glad to have Tilly as a witness that she had locked the door, but there was an underlying hint of worry in her tone that led Tilly to believe she was a bit more unsettled than she let on.
Tilly was unsettled as well. Part of her hated the job, but the upside of it was graduating at the end of the summer debt free. She’d get her diploma and then thank her lucky stars that she would never have to wait tables or serve drinks in a micromini and crop top again. Even better, when she held that diploma in her hands, she wouldn’t owe anyone anything. Years ago when her father had been accused, wrongly, she always thought, of siphoning funds from Benedict Industries, and her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she’d feared the only way to graduate was with a mountain of debt.
She’d been working at this club for just over three years. It hadn’t always been easy juggling her schoolwork with the late nights and early mornings the club required. But the tips were great and the club had a strongly enforced no-touching-in-public-rooms rule.
In a perfect world she wouldn’t have to work at a gentlemen’s club to pay her way through college. No, in a perfect world, her parents would still be alive and her dad’s reputation wouldn’t be tarnished by those false allegations of embezzlement.
And since she was naming everything that would be in her perfect world, Keaton Benedict would still be in her life.
But over eight years ago, her father had been fired from Benedict Industries when Keaton’s father accused him of stealing from the company. It made no sense at the time and the following years had done nothing to lend credibility to the claim.
Be that as it may, the elder Benedict believed the worst of her father and he’d left the company disgraced. It was something her dad never got over and was, she believed, the main factor in the heart attack that took his life a short six months later.
Her mother did her best, often working three jobs at a time, but it wasn’t enough. In the blink of an eye they had gone from well-off to welfare. Worse, she lost her two closest friends, Elise Germain, whose father actually replaced Tilly’s dad, and Keaton Benedict, who had been her first kiss the week before her life changed forever.

Copyright © 2018 by Tara Thomas
Novella from Shattered Fear Copyright © 2018 by Tara Thomas
Excerpt from Deadly Secret Copyright © 2018 by Tara Thomas

Tara Hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
The First in your new Sons of Broad series, Darkest Night sounds fabulous would you please tell my readers a little about it?
It’s a second chance romance between a couple who was separated when her dad was fired for embezzling from his dad’s company. Unfortunately, the real bad guy (The Gentleman) is still around and he’s ready to bring them all down.

How will the series be connected?
The Gentleman isn’t revealed until the last book. Plus, there’s a young woman, Jade, who is surrounded by mystery as well. Readers will find out who she is in the second book, but there’s an even bigger part about her they won’t know until Book 3.

Are there a set number of books in the series?
Right now there are three: DARKEST NIGHT, DEADLY SECRET, BROKEN PROMISE

I personally love books set in the south especially the low country of Charleston.
Are you a low country girl?
Unfortunately not, but I’m sure, some long lost relative is going to leave me one of the Battery Houses in their will!

Why did you choose this location for your new series?
I think the location choose itself. As soon as the idea came to mind, I knew it had to be in Charleston. Another setting didn’t even cross my mind.

This is a second chance for Keaton and Tilly.
What do you admire most about them?
 I admire the faith and trust they have in each other. They are unwavering and unapologetic with regard to how they feel for each other. I’m not sure I’ve ever written a couple quite like them before.

Tara you are known to many fans by your alter ego, the NYT and USA Today bestseller and RITA finalist Tara Sue Me.
Why change your name for this series?
I didn’t want there to be any confusion about what type of book the reader would get. If you pick up Tara Sue Me, it’ll be an erotic romance.  If you pick up Tara Thomas, you’ll get romantic suspense.
Surprises are good. But not so much when you’re thinking, “What the everlasting hell am I reading?”

Why change tracks when you’ve got such a fantastic e-rom following - are you looking for a different audience, just wanted to dip your toes in a different genre or none of the above?
I’ve always wanted to write romantic suspense and I finally decided to stop thinking and talking about it and to actually do it. I think we have a tendency to get lost in the, “One day I’m doing to….”  And instead we need to make it happen.

Tara thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Good luck with this new endeavor.
Will you be touring with the new series launch and are the events listed on your website?
My websites are giving me fits at the moment. I swear aliens have invaded them both. I need to just set aside a day to straighten them out!

Connect with Tara - Website - Facebook - Twitter
Meet Tara:
Tara Thomas’s love of books and writing started as a child and though she wanted to be an author, she decided a degree in science was more practical. After fifteen years in the pharmaceutical industry, she returned to her first love and hasn’t looked back since.
She writes erotic romance as Tara Sue Me. Her Submissive Series novels have been on both the New York Timesand USA Today Bestseller lists. Her novel The Master earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was awarded Best Romance of 2016 from Best Book Awards.

18 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this interview, thanks for sharing.

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    1. I was like Wow I want to know why she changed identities for this series. so I asked ;-)

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  2. Love and suspense in a novel is the best! I've heard good things of Tara Sue Me and her erotic romance, and was intrigued by the name. I didn't know this was the same person, but clearly she has some major writing skills. Hugs...and Happy Friday! RO

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    1. clearly she does have some major writing skills. Happy Friday and hugs back RO

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  3. This sounds like a good romantic suspense series, and like you I love books set in low country.

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  4. I enjoy romantic suspense and this little series sounds great and I do like it when authors change up their genres that they use a slightly different name.

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  5. I do like Charleston for a setting

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  6. Those mysterious boxes have me intrigued.

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  7. I've read the prequel novella trio and this one. Her The Gentleman villain is a chilling villain. I can't wait to learn who he is. I've got a pretty strong suspicion about Jade's secrets.

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  8. I didn't know this author, but I've heard Tara Sue Me. This sounds really interesting. I'll have to give it a try. Great interview.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

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