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Please welcome author Virginia Kelly with a guest blog, a giveaway, and the scoop on IN THE ARMS OF A STRANGER, her new romantic suspense from Entangled Ignite.

Meeting JP Blackmon: In the Arms of a Stranger

I’ve arranged to meet JP Blackmon, CIA operative and the hero of In the Arms of a Stranger, at a small diner on the corner of the square in a tiny Alabama town close to where the novel begins. I drive up to find several cars parked in the diagonal spots in front. It’s the end of the breakfast rush. I don’t know what JP drives anymore, so I’m not sure if he’s here yet.

I walk in as the radio is playing Lynard Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” A few people stare at me, some smile, several people nod and say, “Mornin’” as I look around, trying to find JP. He’s not here. I bet he stood me up. He didn’t sound at all eager to talk to me.

Then I catch a glimpse of him at the very back booth. He’s dressed in a navy blue Henley and is still wearing shades so I can’t tell whether he’s spotted me. He’s too still, like a predator waiting…

Wait a minute. I’m in a diner in nowhere Alabama. *I* arranged to meet him. I’m not being stalked. Sheesh. The guy’s so… indescribable.

I walk back. “I was afraid you’d stood me up.”

He stands as I slide into the seat across from him. “I wouldn’t do that.”

No, he wouldn’t. I can count on his word. He’d risk everything, even his life, when he’s given his word. I learned that just as Abby Price did.

“So, what did you want to talk about? I figure everything that needed saying was said in the book.”

“I just wanted to touch base. See how you’re doing.”

“Good. I’m good.” He nods and takes off the shades.

I instantly understand why Abby was so drawn to him. His eyes, a dark brown, are intense. He has the perfect stubble on that strong jaw and chin. His dark hair’s grown out a little since I last saw him.

“No,” he corrects quickly. “I’m doing great.” And he smiles. “Really great.”

Good God, the man can smile. It’s like he knows some little secret he’s not telling. And he does. Lots of little secrets and a whole world of big ones, too. Ones that if he disclosed, he’d have to kill me.

I never, ever thought I’d think such a thing.

“Was that it?” he asks, interrupting my muddled thoughts. “You just wanted to know how I’m doing?”

I nod, desperate to think of something to say that sounds reasonable, rather than blurting out that I just had to see him again.

“You could have asked me when you called.”

“I wanted to see for myself.”

He laughs. A rich, gorgeous sound that settles deep inside of me. Oh, God, if his smiles devastate, his laugh, well, it could be a lethal weapon.

“Oh, that’s rich.” He takes a breath. “You wrote the damn book. Don’t you know how I am?”

“The book ended.”

“You’re not…you know… poking around in my life anymore?”

“No, I just don’t want to lose touch.”

He smiles at that. Does he have a dimple I never noticed?

“Well, I’ve gotta go.” He glances out the window then back at me. “You’ve lived in Alabama. Abby hasn’t done a lot of hiking, but I thought I’d find a place that had some easier trails, some place she might enjoy seeing. Ideas?”

Lake Cheaha (photo by Virginia Kelly)

Lake Cheaha (photo by Virginia Kelly)

This I know. I can help him. It feels good. “Cheaha State Park, near Anniston, is the highest point in the state. It’s very nice, they have cabins, ones with the big stone fireplaces.”

I’m trying not to picture a night in front of a fireplace with JP Blackmon.

“You think she’d like it?”

“Yes, she’d like it.” Abby’s a lucky woman.

He glances at his watch. “Sorry, but I’ve gotta run. Good talking to you.”

With that, he scoots out of the booth in a smooth move that leaves me wondering how he does it after everything he went through. All the women watch him walk to the cash register.  Sleek, graceful. Sexy.

He pockets his wallet into worn jeans, then walks back to me. Every eye in the place is on him.

“Abby said she’d like to talk to you. She said you’ll be in Ocean Springs, Mississippi tomorrow. We’re driving over, too.” He pulls out a scrap of paper with a phone number on it. “She said to call her so you could meet.”

I wonder if he just forgot, or if he deliberately didn’t tell me. He probably wanted more alone time with Abby. Still, I nod, smiling, trying not to pump my fist in victory. I may see him again! I just can’t let him walk out of my life.

Maybe I’ll drive over to Ocean Springs tomorrow. I could enjoy some seafood, maybe a Gulf of Mexico sunset.  Maybe see JP again. Should I go? Would you?

Leave a comment and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win. Check the schedule to see if I manage to meet Abby and JP tomorrow. You can easily follow along by checking my Facebook Page. I’ll post the stop of the day there. It’s also available here.

In the Arms of a Stranger

A dangerous man on the run…

Wounded and accused of treason, CIA operative JP Blackmon is on the run from his own agency and desperate to clear his name. When he finds out his old partner is dead, he’ll do anything to get to the truth…including using his partner’s widow.

Finds a vulnerable woman looking for answers…

Abby Price wanted nothing more than a family and a safe home. But her late husband kept big secrets from her—secrets that got him killed and has government agents watching her every move. And she’s started fearing for her life. The only man who can help her is a mysterious stranger who suddenly appears out of nowhere. But can she trust him?

Together they discover a passion worth dying for.

As danger stalks them at every turn, unexpected passion flares between JP and Abby. But the last thing either wants or needs is more complications. Romance? No. Way. That would involve trust—something neither is willing to do. But in the end, sharing their deadly secrets is their only hope for survival…their only hope to hold onto the love they’ve just begun to share…

Find it @ Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt

“Is JP your real name?”

He smiled, and she realized she hadn’t seen one of his real smiles before. This one lit up his face, made his eyes laugh. There was devilment in the smile. “I don’t know you well enough to tell you that yet.”

Yet?

The look of him, the timbre of his voice, as if he really would know her well enough to—

Her breath caught. She couldn’t look away. That well?

She wanted to frown, to be outraged. But his eyes… Good heavens, his eyes. Everything about him, from his short dark hair, to his smile, to his broad shoulders, he was all captivating male.

Instead, she laughed. It was a totally unexpected reaction. She’d never reacted to anyone the way she did to JP. If that was his name…

And what came out of her mouth next was a total surprise. “When do you think you will?”

Virginia Kelly

An RWA Golden Heart® finalist, Virginia Kelly’s first book was published as To the Limit and finaled in several contests such as the Holt Medallion, The Golden Quill and The Aspen Gold.

Virginia has always loved adventure novels, but romance is at the core of her stories—romance with the adrenalin rush of danger. Against the Wind, a full-length novel, and Dancing in the Dark, the prequel novella to In the Arms of a Stranger, are about dangerous men and the adventurous women willing to take a chance on them.

Traveling is a passion that came early in life. Her first airplane ride was a trip over the Andes Mountains in Peru at the ripe old age of two months. Her travels provide the settings for her novels, whether it’s a fictitious Latin American country based on Peru, the country of her birth, or Florida and the American South where she now lives.

A graduate of the University of Alabama with a master’s degree in Library Science, Virginia is an academic librarian. She tries to include a librarian in all of her books as either the heroine or as a minor character. Having taught high school and college, she has a great appreciation for teachers and often uses that as the profession for her heroines.

Virginia’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

Giveaway

Repeating Virginia’s note from above: Leave a comment and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win. Check the schedule to see if I manage to meet Abby and JP tomorrowYou can easily follow along by checking my Facebook Page. I’ll post the stop of the day there. It’s also available here.

CLICK HERE FOR RAFFLECOPTER