Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, Jennifer!
Thank you so very much for having me!
What 5 things should readers know about you?
I live on a homestead in Alaska, where my biggest fear isn’t bears, but the Internet going out. I’m a stepmother of two, passionate about romance writing, drinker of a gallon of tea a day, voracious reader and devoted yogini.
I agree, having to go without Internet is scary! (Especially with kids in the house. The horror!)
Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉
Mike Solo is the catcher for the Kilby Catfish. He was training to be a Navy SEAL, but left when he donated a kidney to his ill brother. That choice created a divide with his Catholic family because his brother is gay. He’s very loyal to the people he loves and is the first to jump in and protect someone. Since he’s got that Navy training, he’d probably have a completely stocked inflatable life raft with him. Donna MacIntyre is working hard to gain back custody of her little boy. She had a wild youth, but has put all that behind her in her quest to get Zack back. The hardest part of that journey is believing in herself. She would do anything for Zack, so she’d probably have a parenting book with her on that desert island.
Excellent choices! (And definitely true to their characters :))
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
Inspiration number one was the sheer hotness and appeal of baseball players. I’m a lifelong fan and really enjoy the game and baseball culture. For this book in particular, an added inspiration was the experience of a gay family member myself. My family isn’t Catholic, so Mike’s story is very different from mine, not to mention that he operates in the macho world of baseball. But that was part of my inspiration for this book.
You had me at “sheer hotness and appeal”. I am NOT a fan of baseball the sport, but I am a fan of hot baseball players in their very nice uniform pants. And books with baseball player heroes…especially when they’re ex-military and really awesome brothers. 😉
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I’ve been writing forever, it seems like. One way or another, I’ve made my living writing since college, but the romance novel path is relatively new, the last eight years or so. What inspired me to write was my passion for reading, quite honestly. Nothing else ever seemed quite as amazing as the creation of a new world on paper.
What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
The best part is that little light bulb that goes off – a moment, a scene, a line, a plot twist – and your brain starts firing in all directions. It’s the best feeling! It’s exhilarating. The most challenging part, to be honest, is the worry that comes with such an unpredictable way to make a living.
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
I’m working on two exciting projects at the moment. First comes a super-fun crossover collaboration with Erin Nicholas called GETTING WOUND UP. A boy from her Sapphire Falls series signs with the Kilby Catfish in my series. So fun! It’s coming out in March 2016. Then in July comes DRIVE YOU WILD, which is the third book in the Love Between the Bases series and stars bad boy slugger Trevor Stark.
Great! They both sound like a lot of fun 🙂
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
So many, starting with Jane Austen and moving on through Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I’m pretty much of a magpie, so I take inspiration from just about every book I read. Which gives me an excuse to read a lot, right? I find something to love in almost every book.
I am 100% in favor of that kind of research!
What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?
I’m currently reading Cora Brent’s Gentry Boys series. I love how she takes these really damaged characters who grew up in hellish environments and treats them with respect and love. Plus it’s super-hot.
Hmmm…(jumping over to Goodreads, TBR just grew a little larger…)
If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?
Catcher Mike Solo just gave Donna the hottest kiss of her life, but now she’s in major league trouble with her powerful ex. Love comes out of left field in Caught By You!
Great job, Jennifer! Thanks again for joining us today 🙂
Jennifer Bernard is a graduate of Harvard and a former news promo producer. The child of academics, she confounded her family by preferring romance novels to … well, any other books. She left big city life for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters. She’s no stranger to book success, as she also writes erotic novellas under a naughty secret name not to be mentioned at family gatherings.
Mike looked around at the milling Roadhouse crowd. Denim jackets and cowboy boots, short skirts and long legs, plenty of lip gloss and teased hair, glimpses of cleavage, earrings dangling against bare skin, pretty girls flipping their hair, laughing, teasing, sexy, cute …
And not Donna.
He drained his club soda. “Mañana,” he said to the other Catfish, who stared after him with expressions of shock and betrayal. He never left the party early. Too bad. The Roadhouse without Donna was like a game without a hit. A dinner without steak. A shower without water.
It just wasn’t worth the bother.
He strode out of the Roadhouse into the still-warm night. Up above, stars bedazzled the blue-velvet sky. The Wade kid had it right. Play well, get out of town. That was the plan. Definitely, for sure, forget Donna.
Unless, of course, she was standing right in front of him.
He blinked, but she didn’t disappear. On his way to the stadium for batting practice, he’d stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and a cruller. Now his coffee steamed, forgotten, in his left hand while he drank in the sight of Donna MacIntyre. She stood next to a miniscule red Kia in the drive-through, a little brown bag in one hand and a Big Gulp of coffee in the other.
She looked … different.
“You are Donna, right? Donna MacIntyre?”
She rolled her eyes with a Lord-help-us expression that confirmed her identity. “Solo. How’ve you been?”
“Great. What are you wearing?” It looked horrible, whatever it was. Boxy, boring blue, below the knee. Its only benefit was that it showed off her calves. Unfortunately, they were covered in beige panty hose. “Did you just come from Salvation Army band practice?”
“That’s an extremely inappropriate comment.”
Yeah, it was, but he was rattled. “Sorry. I’m a little traumatized. Are you on a Mormon mission or something? What did you do to your hair?”
The state of her hair made him want to cry. All the curls had been flat-ironed out of it; he knew the process because his sisters used it on their curly black mops. The color hadn’t changed, thank the saints, but she wore a headband that hid most of the glorious red. A headband! And her hair was short too. She’d chopped it to shoulder-length. All that wild, beautiful hair, sitting on a salon floor somewhere.
“Wait, let me guess. You’re on your way to an encyclopedia convention.”
Looking extremely annoyed, she brushed past him. He caught the scent of fresh woodlands. At least that hadn’t changed. As she peered into the Kia, he followed her gaze and saw a sleeping kid strapped into a car seat in the back. The window was halfway open, giving the child plenty of air. He had red hair and his mouth lolled open.
“Is that the Shark?”
For the first time, she looked kindly at him. “You remember about the Shark?”
“Of course. You’re a nanny for a Shark. Hard to forget that. Or the rest of it.” He raised one eyebrow suggestively, but she ignored his double entendre. His suspicion grew that something was wrong in Donna’s world. In the old days, she never let a chance to flirt pass her by.
“I’m not a nanny anymore,” she told him, circling around to the driver’s side. “I’m a receptionist at a dentist’s office. You should come by sometime. We’re famous for our root canals.”
Cradling her coffee and paper bag against her chest, she put her key into the lock on the driver’s side door. Damn. She was about to drive away, and he didn’t know when he’d see her again.
“You know, I could use a good teeth cleaning. They look kind of green up on the Jumbotron. Where’s your office?”
“Oh. Where? It’s, um, at the corner of Twelfth and Forget I Said Anything.”
“Ouch. Now there’s the Donna I remember.”
She fumbled with the lock. “Well, forget her.”
“I tried that. It wasn’t any fun.”
She glanced up at him, her eyes narrowed, and a zing shot between them. For the first time since he’d gotten back to Kilby, Mike felt completely happy with life. He bounded around the car and lifted her coffee out of her way. “There, is that easier?”
“You don’t have to help me. I’m fine. Don’t you have some balls to play with?”
“Ouch again. I think our Donna’s back in business.” He squinted at her. “Are you wearing a football pin? Now you’re just breaking my heart.”
“Welcome to Texas,” she said, all sassy. “Where football is king, and baseball is the nerdy neighbor boy your mom makes you play with.”
“Them’s fighting words, Donna MacIntyre. You can’t just say something like that and not give me a chance to prove how superior baseball is in every possible way.”
She turned the key in the lock and swung open the door. He stepped back to avoid getting a crotch full of South Korean automotive metal. In the car seat, the child’s legs twitched, and a low wail began.
“Gotta go,” said Donna, suddenly in a big hurry. “Nice running into you and all. Have a good season.”
“Mama!!!” the boy cried. Mike could see it was a boy now. A boy with bright red hair the exact color of Donna’s.
“Shhh, sweetie. It’s okay. I’m here, and I got you some milk.” She stuck a straw in the cup and handed it to him.
Abruptly, the crying stopped. Donna shot Mike a complicated look—he detected regret, warning, pleading, and probably a few more layers—then closed the door.
He watched her drive away, speculation running rampant. So Donna had a kid. She’d never mentioned any such person. Neither had Caleb or Sadie. Not that it was his business.
Except … well, he kind of wanted to make it his business. How many dental offices could there be in Kilby, Texas?