Maidens, we are very excited that we have here today the talented Robin Kaye. She just recently released the prequel and first book in her Bad Boys of Red Hook. It’s a small town romance in a big city, sexy and sweet. You can’t miss out on reading them! Please help us welcome her to UTC today!
Hi Robin and welcome to UTC. We are very excited to have you here with us today sharing about your Bad Boys of Red Hook series.
It’s great to be here! Happy New Year, everyone!
Lets get to know you a little better first. Tell us five things about you that may surprise us.
I’ve worked as a bouncer at a bar/restaurant/nightclub. The owners thought if they had a one hundred twenty-pound girl (the younger and thinner version of Robin Kaye) at the door instead of a big beefy guy with baseball bat, they’d have less trouble. They were wrong. On the bright side, I dated a lot of police officers and never got a ticket in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
I was a ski instructor for a short time and learned how to ski backward very well. Everyone I taught would ask, “How do I look?” I’d have to stop, turn around and watch. I ended up just spinning around and going down the slopes backward—it was great fun. I love to ski and teach.
The first time I met Adam West, the original Batman in Ketchum, ID/Sun Valley, I was seven years old and told him that I knew they turned the camera sideways so it just looked as if he and Robin were climbing up the sides of buildings. He laughed, gave me a pat on the shoulder, and asked me to keep that little tidbit under my hat. I’m not sure if it’s still true, but at one time Adam West was in the Ketchum phone book under Batman, Adam West, and in the yellow pages under Super Heroes. He’s very nice.
I put my pets in my books and they’re such characters, I don’t have to change much about them. The only thing I think I’ve changed was my cat Raja (a three-legged Bengal cat), who I called Tripod in BREAKFAST IN BED. Tripod drank coffee and Raja doesn’t—at least not more than a sip—but that’s probably because I protect my coffee with my life. I’m a bit of an addict.
I’ve written seven books and one novella at Starbucks (Carlisle Crossing, Carlisle, PA and Mt. Airy, MD) I have my own table at each of my Starbucks and I sometimes use my baristas in my books. Steph, Gina, and Laura, the baristas in CALL ME WILD are real baristas in the Carlisle Crossing Starbucks in Carlisle, PA.
On your bio states you grew up in Brooklyn, how close were you to where Simon and Storm live? And where specifically can we find them…LOL
I lived less than five miles away from Red Hook in the Kensington section of Brooklyn. I lived on Minna Street, right behind Greenwood Cemetery and thought the cemetery was my playground. Greenwood is beautiful and park-like. As a matter of fact, the designers of Central Park used Greenwood Cemetery as their inspiration—minus the graves, of course. If you ever get out to Brooklyn, Greenwood Cemetery has tours. If you take one, you won’t be disappointed.
How did you come up with a heroes such as Simon and Storm……Especially in their line of work as a bartender and marine engineer. Anyone from real life you might’ve taken as inspiration?
Years ago I was writing a modern day re-telling of Pride and Prejudice with a twist of Persuasion and I needed a yacht—a really nice yacht. I did what every writer does—I went on a virtual shopping spree via the Internet. I found the perfect boat, the Knight Commander designed by Kevin Dibley and Laurie Davidson.
I emailed Kevin (a complete stranger) and asked if I could use his boat in my book. He emailed me right back and said, “Well, that’s not one I’ve heard before.” He gave me permission to use the Knight Commander, and even offered to help with the sailing sequences. That was twelve years ago and we’ve been email friends ever since.
Kevin Dibley is an amazing guy, a great friend, and one of the best marine architects out there. I used his occupation and location (he lives in Auckland, NZ) as a basis for Storm’s, as well as one of the accidents he’d had while racing in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. It was great to be able to email Kevin and say, “Hey, Kev, I need a 100 footer—a really nice one.” A few hours later, the plans for the yacht I called No Censor Ship showed up in my email box. One time I wrote and asked him what problem with a boat builder would make him jump on a plane and fly from NY to NZ to fix. He gave me the scenario and I wrote the scenes and then emailed Kevin.
I’d fallen in love with his design for No Censor Ship and asked how much it would cost in US Dollars. I just about swallowed my tongue when he told me that with all the bells and whistles it would go for a cool $10.4 million. Man, I always knew I had expensive taste but that’s over the top—even for me!
How close are you to relating to your heroines with any aspect of their lives? Have you had any experience similar to their lives??
I definitely relate to the Ronaldi sisters in my Domestic Gods series—after all, I’m Italian, from a very Italian Brooklyn family. But as for any similarities between Bree Collins and me, other than having worked in the restaurant business, and having a smart mouth, I can’t think of any.
Can you tell us a bit of what to expect from the rest of the series? Do you have the heroes planned out? How many books?
I sent off the final revisions of YOU’RE THE ONE, Logan’s book, to my editor this morning. It’s due out in June.
Slater’s book is up next, and I’m trying to figure out what that’s about. Since Super Storm Sandy hammered Red Hook, I’m trying to decide if I want to include that in my next book. I supposed that answers your question as far as long-term planning goes. As for other books not yet under contract… My heroine in YOU’RE THE ONE, Skye Maxwell, has four brothers (all chefs) who made a few appearances in Logan and Skye’s book and I fell in love with them. I don’t know, we might see more of Patrick, Reilly, Colin and, Kier Maxwell. <grin> We’ll have to see what my editors think.
If you could spend one day with one of your heroes, who would it be, why and what would you do?
That’s difficult. I adore all my guys. Let’s see… I’d probably say Storm Decker because I’d love to go sailing with him in New Zealand. The one-day thing is a definitely problem though—I’d want to sail to Australia, and that takes about three weeks.
Can you give us a peek into the day of a writer? Do you write every day? If so, for how long?
In a perfect world, on Tuesdays through Thursdays, I get up, make myself coffee and feed the dogs, then shuffle off to my office and go through my emails. Once that’s done, I grab a shower, get dressed, pack up my laptop, and drive the mile to Starbucks. I’ll work between six and twelve hours (sometimes more) depending upon my deadlines. I’ve been known to close down the Starbucks and write on the patio in nice weather until my battery dies and then go back to my office at home and write until I drop.
Mondays and Fridays I try to write my blogs and handle the business side of writing. If I have time, I’ll work on my manuscript until it’s time to cook dinner. I do my best to have dinner with my family (although tonight I’m going out with my husband to shop and grab a bite) and then watch TV or play board games—lately we’re big into Cash Cab, Mexican train, puzzles, and Battle of the Sexes.
On Saturdays I try to do family things unless I’m in deadline hell.
Sundays are spent at Starbucks working with my critique partners.
What’s next for Robin Kaye?
I’m working on the synopsis for Slater’s book in the Bad Boys of Red Hook series, and writing A LITTLE ON THE WILD SIDE, Trapper’s book in my Domestic Gods Gone Wild series. I’m also trying to come up for ideas for books for Karma and Andrew in my Domestic Gods, and Skye’s brothers for the Bad Boys…
Thanks so much for sharing with us today! Now we leave you with an excerpt from the first chapter of BACK TO YOU.
“I think you killed him.”
Ten-year-old Nicoletta said it with such immutable calmness, Breanna Collins wondered if this wasn’t the first time a strange man had entered Nicki’s room at three in the morning and been taken down by a woman wielding a cast-iron frying pan.
Bree’s heart traded punches with her sternum, winding her more than a ten-mile run uphill. She sure as hell hoped Nicki’s assessment of the intruder was right. Better a dead burglar than a live one.
The dim glow of a streetlight outlined the shadowy figure lying facedown on the carpeted floor between Bree and Nicki. Dropping the skillet, Bree skirted the body before grabbing Nicki’s arm, pulling her off the bed, and shoving her toward the door.
The man groaned, and, like something out of a horror flick, a vise-like grip closed around Bree’s ankle. She landed hard, kicking and screaming. She reached for the frying pan, only to be flipped like a tortilla on a hot griddle, and covered with one extra-large serving of man.
“Get off me!”
He held her hands on either side of her head as his breath washed her ear. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Yeah? Well, I’m going to hurt you.”
“You already have.”
Light flooded the room, causing temporary blindness. When Bree’s vision cleared and she saw he wan’t an intruder, she wanted to crawl under the pink princess canopy bed and hide. Instead, she dove right into the turbulent, ocean blue eyes of an enraged Storm Decker—the past occupant of Nicki’s room. Storm Decker—a man Bree had known since before she started wearing sexy underwear. Storm Decker—a man who epitomized the reason women bought the lacy, uncomfortable stuff in the first place.
“Breezy, a frying pan? That was the best you could do?”
Bree hated that nickname—maybe because Storm was the only one who dared to use it. It didn’t help matters that the sound of it rolling off his tongue had always been enough to make her breath catch. She struggled, trying to slide from beneath him, but succeeded only in pressing her body against his. His heat scorched Bree through her Mr. Bubble boxers and matching tank top. She couldn’t believe Storm would be a witness to the remnants of insanity caused by a wild shopping spree at the Walmart in Secaucus. Women built like her shouldn’t wear tank tops—not even to bed.
Storm didn’t move a muscle, keeping her pinned beneath him. He didn’t behave like a gentleman should and get off her, help her up, and make sure she was all right—not that she was surprised. Storm Decker was a bad boy, and he had the rap sheet to prove it.
He had the nerve to shoot her his guaranteed-good-time grin, the one that made any woman in the vicinity want to remove the sexy underwear she’d purchased with him in mind. “If I were out to hurt you, you’d be in a real tight spot right about now.”
“No, she wouldn’t.”
Storm’s attention snapped to Nicki standing in the doorway, holding the phone in one hand and the frying pan in the other.
“You’d be out cold again, and the cops would be on their way. Now, do you want to get off her, or am I gonna have to use this?” She waved the frying pan and did her best to look menacing.
Nicki was too cute to manage that, but Bree gave her points for trying.
Storm turned back to Bree, their noses almost touching. “Who’s the kid?”
“Storm, this is Nicki. Nicki, meet Storm Decker, Pete’s son.” She tried not to think about Storm’s proximity and concentrated on the pained and confused look on his face. He wasn’t the only one confused. “What are you doing here?”
Storm rolled off her. She thought she’d be able to breathe better without two hundred pounds of man crushing her, but she was wrong. No, the breathlessness was still there. Crap. She was twenty-eight and a far cry from that seventeen-year-old caught in Storm Decker’s wake.
“Logan couldn’t get away from the vineyard—something about harvest season. He got ahold of me and told me Pop was sick. Since Logan was unable to make it, I was elected. I’ve been traveling for”—Storm glanced at his watch—“twenty-three hours, and this is the welcome I get? No wonder I haven’t been home in years—”
“Eleven years.” Bree sat and hugged her knees to her chest.
“So you did miss me.”
“Yeah, like a rash.”
“I might not have seen you, but I’ve been home a few times. The last time was five or six years ago. You were probably away at school.”
Bree rose and brushed herself off, just to have something to do with her hands. “You must have left quite an impression. Funny, no one mentioned it to me.” She took the phone and the pan from Nicki. “It’s late, sweetie. Go back to bed.”
Dropping a kiss on Nicki’s forehead, Bree cut her off. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
Storm rose to his feet. He’d looked a lot smaller when he was out cold. He picked up his duffel bag with a grunt, one hand held against his head over what must have been one hell of a lump.
Bree waited for Nicki to climb into bed and curl around a big teddy bear before pulling up the light cotton blanket and brushing a hand over her hair. “I’ll be in the next room if you need me.”
Bree followed Storm out, doused the light, and closed the door behind her. Without looking at him, she headed straight to the kitchen, grabbed a bag of frozen peas, and tossed them at him. “Are you okay? Do I need to take you to the emergency room to have your head examined?”
He sat on a bar stool and winced when he placed the bag against his head. “I’m fine.”
She looked him over—his pupils were equally dialated. “Any nausea?”
“Why, Breezy, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you cared.” The side of his mouth quirked up.
“I don’t. I just don’t want to be charged with murder. Now answer the question.”
“No, I’m fine.” His phone rang, sounding like a foghorn. Pulling it off his hip, he checked the caller. “I’m sorry, I have to take this.”
“Fine.” Bree started out of the kitchen, but he wrapped his fingers around her wrist and held on. The tingle shot straight to her breasts. She didn’t dare look down.
“Storm Decker.” He listened for a moment, and a smile spread across his face as her cheeks ignited. His black hair was cut short, much shorter than she remembered. It only served to accentuate the chiseled features of his face, while his strong, square jaw covered with dark stubble added to his dangerous look. Blue eyes watched her and changed color with his mood. When he’d been on top of her, it had been like looking into an angry sea, and now his eyes were the color of a summer sky—deep blue and full of promise. When he smiled, his perfect teeth gleamed white against his tan skin. His voice was as soothing and buttery as a bottle of Macallan’s fifty-five-year-old single malt scotch. At $17,500 a bottle, she’d bet a case of it that the person on the other end of the line was female.
Bingo. Bree twisted her wrist and pulled away, breaking his grip.
“How are things at home? Any problems today?” Storm’s gaze lingered on Bree’s chest before moving to his pricey watch. She wondered if they sold cheap knockoffs on the street corners in Auckland. She doubted it. It looked more expensive than the run-of-the-mill Rolex. They probably charged extra for the dive watch to withstand the pressure of the ocean’s depths or the corner office. Then again, maybe his watch had been a prize for winning the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. So okay, she’d Googled him and found a picture of Storm and his team holding the Rolex Cup. It was just her luck the photo hadn’t done him justice.
“Tell Laurel I’ll be back in plenty of time to go to the yacht club dinner. This should only take a week, two tops.”
Bree did a quick boob check while she wiped the already-clean kitchen counter and tried to look as if she weren’t listening to every word of his conversation. Unfortunately, the girls were standing at attention. Still, it didn’t keep her from wanting to smack him upside the head with the damn frying pan again on general principle. A one- or two-week visit was no help. She had called Logan because she needed someone responsible to stay for the next couple of months at least. Storm’s plan seemed to be to blow in, stay just long enough to assuage his guilty conscience, then leave for the next eleven years or until Pete’s funeral, whichever came first. It was disappointing, but not unexpected. He probably had Peter Pan tattooed on his incredible ass.
Storm snapped his phone shut. “I guess I should thank you for the great homecoming. Now, do you want to tell me just what the hell is going on and who that kid is in my old bedroom?”
“Who are you to walk in here and start demanding answers? You ignored Pete for years, and now . . .” Storm was . . . God, he was here. Her energy level bottomed out, and she leaned against the counter for support. “Why couldn’t Logan have come? And if he had to send someone, why couldn’t he have called Slater?” After all, Slater was safe. “Slater’s in Seattle. And last I checked, Seattle is a hell of a lot closer to Brooklyn than New Zealand, if you’re still in New Zealand.” With the Storm Chaser, one never knew.
“I get that you’re not happy I’m here. Deal with it, Breezy, because like it or not, I’m all you’ve got.”
“Lucky me. When it comes to helping someone other than yourself, you were always as useless as an inflatable dartboard.”
Storm’s head snapped back, and his chin followed, as if Oscar De La Hoya had hit him with a right cross. “People change.”
She’d won this round. She’d pinned him against the ropes with the two-ton weight of her gaze, willing him to explain his disappearance years ago, but his eyes told no tales. “Pete collapsed at the Crow’s Nest. Heart attack. They did bypass surgery, and he’s not handling it well.” She threw the sponge into the sink and wiped her hands on a towel. “I have a hard enough time managing the restaurant and Nicki single-handedly. I can’t take care of Pete too. I need help. I’m surprised Logan called you, but I’m even more surprised you came.”
“Why wouldn’t I have come? Just because I moved away doesn’t mean I’m not close to Pop.”
“Oh yeah, I heard you friended him on Facebook. I’m sure that means so much to him.” Bree took a deep breath and released it slowly. “He’s at Methodist Hospital, and with any luck, he’ll be out in a few days. He needs to heal, and I don’t know how much he’ll be able to do once he’s back on his feet.”
Storm stood and in two steps was around the breakfast bar. “Breezy? Is Nicki yours?”
“Mine?” She stepped back. “Why would you think that?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
Bree ran her hand through her hair and tucked it behind her ear. “No. Nicki is Pete’s.”
“Pop’s? Since when?”
“It’s been a few months now.” If Pete hadn’t told him about Nicki, it wasn’t her place to do it. “Look, I’m tired. I’m going back to bed. Help yourself to whatever you want. There’s beer and leftover pizza in the fridge. The guest towels are in the linen closet. I’m in Logan’s old room. You can stay in Pete’s room tonight—the sheets are clean. Good night, Storm.” She brushed by him on her way out of the small kitchen.
“Good night, Breezy.”
Bree felt his eyes on her the whole way back to her room. She closed the door and thought about locking it—not sure whether it would be to keep him out or keep her in. Climbing into bed, she fought the searing memory of the last time she’d seen Storm Decker. He’d been running out that same door and leaving her behind.
Storm’s gaze locked on Breezy as she moved away. Reddish brown hair framed her face and gave her that hot, tussled, just-rolled-out-of-bed look women spent a fortune to duplicate—Breezy did it without trying. But then shehad just rolled out of bed. He couldn’t help but smile at the way her big green eyes sparkled with humor or anger whenever she hit her target. She had a hell of an aim, and not just with frying pans.
Her face had softened with time but still showed off those high cheekbones, short, upturned nose, and wide, full mouth. Her face wasn’t the only thing that had changed. At seventeen, she’d been a skinny kid, but she’d filled out in all the right places. Her tank top showed off an abundance of cleavage, and those breasts were one hundred percent natural. He could tell. The rest of her body did anything but disappoint, and it put her in the realm of fantasy material. Damn, leave it to Breezy to be the only woman alive who could make those stupid cartoon pajamas look better than anything he’d seen as a teenager in the Victoria’s Secret catalogue—the poor man’s Playboy.
Storm fingered the goose egg on the back of his head. Shit, he was going to kill Logan when he got his hands on him. Logan failed to mention Breezy worked for Pop. But then, Storm had never asked about her either. The last thing he needed was a reminder of Breezy—hell, he’d dreamed about her every night for at least a year after almost having sex with her.
Storm pulled the phone off his belt and called Logan. He didn’t give a shit what time it was. While the phone rang in his ear, he looked around the apartment he’d grown up in. It hadn’t changed much except for some new carpet, paint, a big-screen TV, and a leather couch. Pop’s favorite recliner still sat in the corner. Even though smoking in New York had been outlawed, since the apartment was above the Crow’s Nest, it still held the faint scent of stale tobacco and beer. It smelled like home—something he hadn’t realized he missed until he’d walked through the door. That was . . . right before Breezy beaned him with the frying pan.
“Do you know what time it is?” Logan didn’t sound happy. Good, neither was Storm, and it was three hours earlier in California. Hell, Storm didn’t even want to know what time zone his body thought it was in.
“It’s twelve forty-five your time. I guess the better question would be, do I care? I’m home, and you have a lot of explaining to do.”
“What do you need explained exactly? Pop’s in the hospital, and one of us needs to help him until he’s back on his feet. I’m in the middle of a harvest, and Slater is doing an internship for school. You were elected. Besides, it got you out of the winter blues down under, so what the hell are you complaining about?”
Storm raked his fingers through his hair, momentarily forgetting about the goose egg until his hand traveled over it. He sucked in air through his teeth, the ones he was currently grinding. “Logan, you never told Bree I was coming. The first thing she did when I got here was hit me upside the head with a frying pan. She thought someone had broken into the apartment.” The deep chuckle on the other end of the phone irritated him.
“What did you want me to tell her? She asked for help, I sent help.”
“You also failed to tell me about the kid.” Storm didn’t know what to do with a kid, especially a girl. Women, sure. Girls, no way.
“What’s this about a kid?”
“You didn’t know either?”
“What the hell are you talking about? What did Pop do now, take in another stray?”
“This one is a little kid. Her name is Nicki.”
“Did you say her?”
“Yeah. Her, as in ‘Congratulations, it’s a girl.’”
“How old is she?”
“How the hell do I know? She’s not walking around with her date of birth stamped on her forehead.”
“Well, is she two? School age?”
“Definitely school age.” He tried to think back that far. He didn’t see many kids, so he didn’t have much to compare her to. “She’s at that awkward age when nothing quite fits together. Her legs are too long and skinny; her teeth are too big.” She was old enough to have the same look in her eyes he’d seen every time he’d looked in the mirror as a kid. Nicki was on a first-name basis with pain and fear and the dirty underbelly of society. Still, that knowledge came to some really young. “I don’t know, somewhere between eight and twelve.”
“Why didn’t Pop tell me?”
“How the hell do I know?” Storm kicked the wall under the breakfast bar, something that never failed to get him a smack on the back of the head from Pop when they were kids. “I guess I shouldn’t feel so bad since he didn’t tell you either. After all, I’m the black sheep.” Pop had never forgiven him for leaving without a word, even though he’d planned to join the merchant marines. He never explained why he’d shipped out two months earlier than expected—explanations were always messy.
“When did the kid show up?” Logan asked.
“Bree said it’s been a couple months. Why the hell has it been months since you’ve talked to Pop?”
“Look who’s talking. I’ve been busy at the vineyard.”
“School and work. Pop came out last winter, and the three of us got together in Vancouver.”
Storm hadn’t been invited. Not that he would have flown to the West Coast, but shit, he used to be one of them. An invite would have been nice.
“It must have been before he got her. Pop never said anything about a girl. He never said anything about a heart problem when he was with us either.”
“A quadruple bypass is a little more than a problem.”
“I was shocked when Bree called and told me he had a heart attack.”
“Yeah, I know. Looks like he’s closer to Bree and Nicki than to any of us.”
“What are you waiting for? The pity platoon to come rescue you?”
Storm groaned. Even to his ears that sounded whiney. After all, Pop had rescued him, Logan, and Slater from foster care and loved them as if they were his own. Then they’d grown up, and Storm had moved on. Hell, he’d left Red Hook, but not because of Pop. He left because he had no choice—he couldn’t disappoint Pop, and he couldn’t stay. There was no future for him in Red Hook, only a past he wasn’t proud of.
“Are you going to see him tomorrow?” Logan asked.
“No, I came all this way to hang out at the bar. Of course I’m going to see him. I’ll be at the hospital first thing.”
“Good, get some sleep. And Storm, you might consider buying a helmet.”
“Don’t laugh. I might do more than just consider it. The woman has one hell of an arm.”
It would take a miracle for Storm Decker to return to Red Hook—or a tragedy. The neighborhood holds too many painful memories of his troubled childhood, along with the mistake that sent him running from the kindness of the ex-cop he’d come to consider his father. But when Pete suddenly falls ill, Storm is called home to face the past he tried to leave behind long ago…
Breanna Collins never expected to see Storm again after he left town without a word, breaking her heart. She’s angry that he can’t seem to appreciate all the changes in their hometown. But she still feels a powerful connection to her old flame. And unless she can remind him of all the reasons to stay, she knows he’ll never stick around long enough to give their romance the second chance it deserves….
About the Author
Robin Kaye was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge next door to her Sicilian grandparents.
Living with an extended family that’s a cross between Gilligan’s Island and The Sopranos, minus the desert isle and illegal activities, explains both her comedic timing and the cast of quirky characters in her books.
She’s lived in half a dozen states from Idaho to Florida, but the romance of Brooklyn has never left her heart.
She currently resides in Maryland with her husband, three children, two dogs, and a three-legged cat with attitude.