IT'S A RACE AGAINST TIME—AND A FATAL OUTBREAK—IN THIS THRILLER OF A DEBUT
In one passionate night, Special Agent James Reynolds and scientist Kelly Jarvis went from friends to lovers. Then Kelly walked away with only an apology. Now James is charged with solving a bioterrorist attack—and Dr. Jarvis works at the suspected lab.
Is Kelly an accomplice or a victim? Just what are her secrets that drove her from James's bed? Soon one thing becomes clear: the ghosts of her past have nothing on the terrorists targeting her and Washington, D.C. Another threat bathes the city in red alert, and now there are lives at stake, in addition to hearts….
Torn between duty and desire, two strangers must risk all for love.
Nuclear physicist Dr. Claire Fleming has one rule: never get close to anyone. But when her colleague is murdered and she's targeted next, she must place all her trust in FBI agent Thomas Kincannon. Soon Claire forgets her tenet as she fantasizes about Thomas's touch.
Thomas is wildly attracted to Claire. But his life and his job are too complicated for any romantic entanglements. Despite this, they share a mind-blowing kiss, and there's no turning back. When Thomas's niece is abducted, the stakes become dangerously higher as Claire insists he trade her for the child. Somehow, Thomas must find a way to rescue his family and protect the woman who let her protective walls down just for him.
ZM: Your novels are delightful, tense romps! I find I can’t put them down. What draws you to romantic suspense?
Lara: Thank you, Zan Marie! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy them!
One of the things that drew me to romantic suspense is the inherent conflict in these stories. Conflict is such an important element of a good story, and with romantic suspense, there’s generally one or two external conflicts driving the plot. Plus, it’s really easy for characters to get into trouble, and that’s always fun as well.
ZM: Your heroines are all so brainy. How has your personal connection to science helped you develop your leading ladies?
Lara: I think being a scientist has made it easier for me to get into my heroine’s heads. I think most people don’t know what it’s like to be a practicing scientist, and it’s gratifying to hear that readers enjoy getting to know a character who has a somewhat unusual job. Plus, as a professor, I always try to make sure that I get my details correct so that people can (hopefully) learn something new.
ZM: What was your path from drafting the first book to publication? Who is your agent? How did the contract with Harlequin come about?
Lara: Oh, man. Do you want the short or the long version?
Basically, I started to write DEADLY CONTACT in 2011, and I attended the RWA National conference in 2012. At that point, I had a full draft of fifty thousand words, and I was looking to pitch to Harlequin. I met with an editor at the conference, and she told me that the word limit for the line I was hoping to sell to had just been expanded to 75K. Cue my heart dropping. Fortunately though, she asked me to send the manuscript to her and she’d take a look. I did, and a few months later she emailed me with a list of issues to fix and an invitation to resubmit. It took me a while, but I addressed all her points and sent the book back in. I was gearing up for another wait, but she contacted me after a week and made an offer!
At this point, I started to panic. I didn’t have an agent, and had just started seriously looking for one. Amara Royce (another Forum friend!) mentioned that her agent, Jessica Alvarez with BookEnds, was acquiring, so earlier in the week I had sent her an email. When I got the offer from Harlequin, I sent her a series of increasingly panicked messages. Fortunately, she didn’t hold my crazy against me and she responded. We chatted for a bit, and I really liked her. I signed with her and she took over the legalese from there!
ZM: Many craft books stress that writers must read and read a lot. Who is your favorite author, or what is your favorite genre? What draws you to a book you read for enjoyment?
Lara: My favorite author? I’m not sure where to begin…
Seriously though, there are so many authors I admire. Diana Gabaldon, Jim Butcher, Larry McMurtry, Joanna Bourne, Christopher Brookmyre, Geraldine Brooks, Charlaine Harris. The list goes on and on. Romance is my first love, but I’ll read in just about any genre.
The thing that draws me is story. If the story is good, I’m hooked. Writing is second—I love a well-crafted sentence, and I learn so much from reading good writing. I try to take the lessons I absorb and apply them to my own work. I’m not sure how successful I am, but the nice thing is I can always get better.
ZM: Tell us about what’s next for your books?
Lara: My third book, LETHAL LIES, will be released this December. I’m also happy to report that I just signed another 2-book contract with Harlequin Romantic Suspense, which means additional books next year! I’m really excited to share these stories, and I hope people enjoy reading them!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Zan Marie!
What do you want to ask Lara about her books?
Lara Lacombe earned her Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology and worked in several labs across the country before moving into the classroom. Her day job as a college science professor gives her time to pursue my other love--writing fast-paced romantic suspense.