Joyfully Reviewed Welcomes Author Sidney Halston
Growing up an Army brat, Violet Channing could never meet her dad’s high expectations. But in the eyes of her best friend, she could do no wrong. He even insisted that he should be her first kiss. Now Cain Sorensen is all grown up, hardened by years in special ops and always looking for a good fight. Tall, with striking blue eyes and impossibly blond hair, he’s a modern-day Viking warrior. Of course, Violet’s all grown up, too, and she’s ready to surrender to his every command.
Cain knows he’s bad for Violet. His work is dangerous, and his hobbies are downright deadly. As a private mercenary and a mixed martial arts fighter, he could never let such an innocent soul into his world. And yet his most grueling combat training is no match for Violet’s killer curves, hot touch, and suggestive glances. Now all of Cain’s most explosive fantasies are coming true—but once they cross the line between friends and lovers, there’s no turning back.
“Hot and sweaty sex, that’s what you need,” Jamie Lynn, better known as JL, said as she threw clothes on Violet’s bed.
“Shut up, Bird!” Violet’s hands were on her hips as she tapped her foot and scowled at her annoying parrot, appropriately named Bird. “I don’t need sex. I’m perfectly content with my life.”
“Perfectly content? -ring,” JL sang out. “There is more to life than ‘perfectly content.’” She pulled out a pair of skinny jeans and a top Violet had bought months before but had never dared to wear. “Oh! This one. This one’s perfect. John will love it.”
Violet loved her friend, but they were so different. Violet looked like a wholesome Texas girl, complete with freckles and a full head of blond curls, while her best friend and roommate, JL, looked like a tattooed pixie, complete with short lilac hair currently spiked up. The only thing they had in common was their southern twang and short stature. “I hope this John guy doesn’t think I’m having sex with him tonight. God, I hate blind dates,” Violet groaned. “What did you tell him?”
“That my perfectly , wonderfully hot, sexually deprived best friend needed a meet-and-greet with Little John.” She held out her hands about a foot apart and winked. “I also told him Big John was invited to attend the date too. But most importantly, I told him Little John better be ready, willing, and able to take one for the team, because your vagina called me last night and begged me to call John for you.”
“Vagina. Vagina,” Bird squawked.
“Ugh! If you don’t shut it, I’m going to cover your cage!” Violet scolded Bird. “And as for you . . .” She pointed at JL. “I don’t want to meet Little John tonight. I don’t even want to meet Big John.” Violet scooped up all the clothes that JL had strewn across her bed and began to hang everything back up.
“What are you doing?” JL asked.
“I’m not wearing any of these things. They’re too revealing and too tight. You forget that I’m not a size zero like you.” Violet stopped in midstep, let go of the clothes, and fell back onto the bed with a groan.
“Trust me—a little revealing is fine, Vi. And so is a little tight. I assure you, men like your tits and ass better than my bony chest and tiny butt. No offense, chick, but you need a little lift in the wardrobe department. Scrubs with little yellow bunnies aren’t going to get you laid. And anyway, since when are you self-conscious?”
“I’m not. Not at all. I’m happy with my body; I just don’t want all the goods on display.” She motioned to her chest. “You know I don’t like to dress like that.” She grabbed a tiny pair of shorts JL had tossed on the bed and flung them onto the floor. “Leave something to the imagination and all that. And I’m not looking to get laid. I’m just looking for a nice guy.” She took a deep breath. “God, I think I’m going to throw up.”
“Just shake it off, girl. It’s nerves. It’s been way too long since you dated. You’re the one who’s been whining about not wanting to go dateless to our high school reunion. Prince Charming isn’t just going to knock on your door and beg to go on a date. You need to go out and meet people, especially if you’re going to find a date in two weeks.”
“Ugh! I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I’ve seen most of those people, and I can’t believe I agreed to go. I don’t know if I want to go see all those pretentious jerks.”
“We’re going. You, me, and Travis. Well, my dear twin brother doesn’t know I’m making him go yet, but he’s coming. We all have to go. You have absolutely nothing to worry about. Travis and I didn’t fit in when we started junior year, so imagine what they’ll think now,” JL said, indicating her tattooed arm. “You’re a nurse. Me, on the other hand, I’m a bartender and Travis is a broke MMA fighter. So suck it up, girlie, ’cause we’re all going. You have a couple of weeks to find a date.” JL placed her palms on Violet’s shoulders. “Take a deep breath.”
Violet followed JL’s instructions.
“Tonight’s just a date,” JL continued. “I was just kidding about Little John. Big John’s not expecting anything more than a nice meal at the Pier. I’ll be right there, and so will half the town. I made sure you were at a familiar place, okay?”
Violet closed her eyes and took a shaky breath. JL handed her some clothes; Violet didn’t miss that JL had given her the too-tight jeans and the too-revealing top. “And if it doesn’t work out tonight, that’s cool too. You just go stag. No biggie.”
“You don’t think it’s too soon to date?” Violet slumped down onto her bed and began to squeeze into the clothes.
“It’s been over three and a half months since your father died. Yeah, maybe that feels soon, but before he passed you hadn’t been on a date in months. Maybe years,” JL said. “And we can’t change the date of the reunion.”
“I have dated. Remember Joe?” She was inside her walk-in closet. “Oh, and Tim. I dated Tim too. And there was a Tom and a Rob.”
“Do you only date guys with three letters in their name?” her friend teased. Violet tossed a scarf at her. “Seriously, Vi, those weren’t real dates. I’m calling bullshit, honey. It has nothing to do with your dad passing away. Even before that you never committed to enjoying yourself. You have to close your eyes and say to yourself, ‘I’m going to try.’ That’s all I ask, that you at least try. And not for the sake of the stupid reunion but because you deserve happiness.”
“Hellooooo? John? Date? Tonight?” Violet waved her arms and then pointed at herself. “That’s me trying.”
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
JL laughed and waved her hand. “Yoda. Never mind. The point is, you better commit to at least two hours, and I don’t want to hear anything dumb, like how he chews weird or has an uneven haircut.”
- Please tell us about your novel.
First of all, thank you for having me here today. My recent release is LAID OUT is a friends to lovers romance. As an Army brat, Violet could never meet her dad’s high expectations. But in the eyes of her best friend, Cain, she could do no wrong. He even insisted that he should be her first kiss. Now, twelve years later, Cain is all grown up, hardened by years in special ops and always looking for a good fight. He knows he’s bad for Violet. His work is dangerous, and his hobbies are downright deadly. As a private mercenary and a MMA fighter, he could never let such an innocent soul into his world. One moment he’s overbearing and overprotective and the next he pushes her away. Violet is all grown up and has been through hell and back, the only thing she wants is Cain back in her life but his mixed signals is driving her crazy. They both know that once they cross the line between friends and lovers, there’s no turning back.
- How did you research your novel, if applicable?
I had to do some research on Vale Tudo, a form of underground fighting. I did that using trustee GOOGLE but also, my husband, who is a fighter, knew a lot about it and helped me out a lot.
- Where can readers find you online?
Mostly on fecebook. www.facebook.com/sidneyhalston
But, also my website: www.sidneyhalston.com
Or twitter: @sidneyhalston
- When you are stuck on something, what is your go to cure?
If I’m really stuck and feel uninspired, I stop and read something. Usually a book that’s completely different than what I write will help me get back on track.
- Do you have a real life hero? If so, can you tell us who and why?
Yes, my husband! I have three little kids and a full-time job as well as my writing career (which has strict deadlines). Sometimes it’s just impossible to juggle it all. He always—always!—steps up and picks up all the slack and usually does an even better job than I do. He comes home from a long day of work and if he seems me up to my eyeballs in deadlines, instead of going to do something he enjoys, such as jiu jitsu training, he’ll make dinner, feed the kids, play with them, bathe them, and put them to sleep. The best thing about my husband is that he never ever complains about it. He is really the best father and husband I know. To me, he is a superhero!
- Who is your favorite literary hero and heroine?
Oh wow! That’s a tough one. Of course I love Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I mean, what romance reader doesn’t? But something more contemporary, I always channel Sidney Sheldon when I write. To me, he had the strongest female heroines of any author and I love that. When I write an alpha male, I think of my all-time favorite hero, Tate from Sweat Dreams by Kristen Ashley.
- Are you character or plot driven? Why?
Definitely character driven. My novels, although stand alones, have a lot of character cross-over. I’m always very careful that they stay “in character” throughout the books, even if it is just a small cameo. LAID OUT is all about Cain. He is a quiet broody man and the story was all about him, and what drove him to be this way and how he’d react to certain situations.
- How do you feel about social media? Is it a help or hindrance to you?
Ahhh…both. If it weren’t for social media, I don’t think I’d have sold any books. I’ve met a lot of my favorite people on social media and we’re still good friends. So, it had definitely been instrumental to my success. However, it can be a huge distraction and I’m not organized enough to get on a social media schedule (I should, though).
- What are the first five titles on your kindle?
It’s always changing since I have a one-click problem. But, right now I:
Dare to Rock, by Carly Philips (I’m reading this one next)
Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye (I love this novella and am re-reading it right now. Really, I love everything Laura writes)
Bootycall by J.D. Hawkins (Just loved the title and bought it)
Sloth by Ella James (Have been meaning to read it)
Degradation by Stylo Fantome (Stylo sent it to me and I can’t wait to read this! She’s awesome!)
- Where do you see yourself and your writing in the next five years?
I hope to still be writing. I think my MMA books will have come to an end but there’s definitely more to come. I’m working on a few series pitches right now.
- How many books do you own and what does your bookshelf look like?
Oh my…I don’t know how many books are on my bookshelf. Hundreds, I’d say. And I love to sit and look at my pretty bookshelves. Truthfully, though, in the last two years, I’ve purchased 95% of all my books from either Kindle or Nook and haven’t been purchasing actual books too often. I hate to admit that.
My Kindle library also has hundreds of books and at least 3 times a month I have to delete books from the device because it runs out of memory. I have them organized into a folder called READ and another one called TBR. I feel like my “To be read” folder keeps growing and will never ever be manageable. But it’s okay because I love to read and I’ll get to it eventually.
- If you are published traditionally and independently, which do you prefer and why?
Both have their advantage and disadvantage. You do lose some control (deadlines, sales, pricing, content, etc.) when you’re with a publisher but at the same time I gained a fan-base I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Also, I have use of their editors and marketing department, which I probably couldn’t have afforded as an indie. My particular publisher, Loveswept/RandomHouse, I believe is a little different in that they allow their authors a lot of independence so, to a certain extent, I think I have the best of both worlds.
- What advice do you have for people that are trying indie publishing right out of the gate?
Go for it. It can be hit or miss but you’ll never know unless you try.
I would, however, advice you to get a good editor. Just because you’re indie doesn’t mean you should be sloppy. Sloppy work is what gives indies a bad name. Some of my favorite books and a lot of my good friends are indie authors and they treat the process very professionally. They invest in good editors and proofreaders and they are examples of how to do it correctly. Writing a story and publishing full of grammatical errors isn’t the way to do it. Things get missed even by the best editors but the entire manuscript shouldn’t be riddled with typos.
- What do you find inspiring?
A lot of my inspiration comes from reading. I’ll read a certain line from a book, for example, and it’ll trigger a thought or a “what if” and then I expand it from there.
- Do you have a favorite charity?
I love animals and am big on environmental issues. My favorite charity is International Fund for Animal Welfare. They are working toward the illegal killing of elephants for their ivory and anything to do with the protection of endangered species.
- Your family is safe and sound. You have 24 hours to live and have been given the ability to do anything in the world, what do you do?
Wow, what an enormous question. Okay, so, maybe the answer should be something fun like travel to a far off place I’ve always dreamed of seeing. But, truthfully, I’d probably want to spend my last 24 hours making sure my family knew exactly how much I love them. And, being the person that I am, I’d probably check and recheck all the financials things that went with my estate to make sure everything is in order. I’d probably also give my husband a list of things to do the next day, since I’ll be gone. Ack…how morbid.
USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life by one simple rule: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started” (Mark Twain). Or even simpler: “Just do it” (Nike). And that’s exactly what she did. At the age of thirty, having never written anything other than a legal brief, she picked up a pen for the first time to pursue her dream of becoming an author. That first stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Halston lives in South Florida with her husband and children.
About the Worth The Fight Series
Against the Cage (Worth the Fight #1)
For Chrissy Martin, returning to her Florida hometown always seems to bring bad luck. The day starts with a breakup text, followed by a jailhouse phone call from her troublemaker brother. Now a routine traffic stop has ended with her accidentally punching an officer . . . in a delicate place. Then Chrissy realizes that the hot cop on the receiving end of her right hook is none other than the man from her teenage fantasies.
Jack Daniels knows how to take a hit. After all, when he’s not chasing reckless drivers, he’s kicking ass in a mixed martial arts ring. So what takes his breath away isn’t the low blow, but the woman who dealt it: a gorgeous knockout with legs Jack wouldn’t mind being pinned under—who just so happens to be his best friend’s nerdy little sister, all grown up. Soon their instant chemistry leads to a sizzling affair, but Jack and Chrissy are fighting an uphill battle if they want to make love last beyond the final bell.
Full Contact (Worth the Fight #2)
How could she have been so stupid? When Jessica Cross decides to give her violently jealous boyfriend—the otherwise influential and charming Dennis Stavros—a second chance, she very nearly becomes a statistic. After weeks of healing from a broken rib and collapsed lung, and with Dennis behind bars, Jessica finally feels ready to come out of hiding. But will she ever be able to take a chance on love again with someone new?
Mixed martial arts fighter Slade Martin knows he has a bad reputation. Hell, he’s probably earned it. So it won’t be easy to convince beautiful, vulnerable Jessica that she can trust him—that from the moment she walked into his life, she’s been the only one he’s wanted. Powerful and confident, Slade knows he can honor his vow to protect Jessica body and soul. Winning her heart will be another matter . . . but a woman like Jessica is worth the fight.
Below the Belt (Worth the Fight #3)
Once one of the most sought-after names on the mixed martial arts circuit, Antonio “Scarface” Marino watched his career go down for the count as he chased skirts and made tabloid headlines. Now he’s finally making a comeback, and it’s all thanks to Francesca Silva, a Brazilian bombshell as tough as any of her fighters. But who’s the real Francesca: the trash-talking trainer who rides him hard, or the vulnerable woman who blushes at his touch?
Francesca went to the mat to sign Tony because she believes he still has the potential to bring big success to her gym—if she can keep his head in the cage and out of her personal life. After a short-lived marriage soured her on love, a one-night stand is all she can handle. Now Tony’s kisses are stirring up complicated feelings—especially when he agrees to face her ex in the ring. Francesca’s used to freezing guys out. But Tony’s tempting her to give in to the heat.