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Review, Interview, & Giveaway: TACTICAL STRIKE by Kaylea Cross

Update – Congratulations to Evelyn, the winner of Tactical Strike! Thank you to all those who participated!

Happy Release Day to Kaylea Cross for Tactical Strike!

If you love military romantic suspense you have got to read Kaylea Cross. She does her research so well and writes her books to be as realistic as possible for a fiction romance book. I learn so much more about the men and women fighting for my freedom from her. 

I had the chance to interview the awesome Kaylea Cross and she is giving away a copy of her newest book, Tactical Strike to one lucky commenter so don’t leave without entering the giveaway!

Official Summary:

Gunship pilot Captain Candace Bradford has worked long and hard to earn her rank and position within the male-dominated world of Air Force Special Operations. She’s not about to let anything or anyone jeopardize that, let alone one sinfully tempting man who seems determined to cause her nothing but trouble. Even if she’s starting to fall for him.

As an elite Combat Controller, Staff Sergeant Ryan Wentworth is used to overcoming adversity in order to complete a mission. Breaking through Candace’s prickly exterior and into her heart is a challenge he can’t let go. But just when he’s begun to gain her trust, they’re thrown together in the field facing an overwhelming enemy force.

Candace and Ryan find themselves on the run, searching the skies for an emergency extraction. But one dangerous enemy has an agenda in mind and he’ll use whatever means necessary to achieve it, including using American forces to do his dirty work.

So Many Reads Review:

I can’t stress enough that if you like military romantic suspense you must read Kaylea’s books.  Just by reading them you can tell the level of passion she has for the US Military (and she is Canadian!). Ryan and Candace’s story is just as romantic and intense as her other books. I enjoy the different points of view Kaylea writes in because not only do you get to see things from the hero and heroine perspective but also the antagonist, which in this book is Khalid.

Staff Seargant Ryan Wentworth has a pretty awesome job. Probably the coolest one I have read about.  Not only is he on the ground with the other troops, but he is essentially an air traffic controller so he gets to call in some bombers to take care of business. How cool is that? He does his job with such confidence and precision, which is exactly who you want out there when the enemy is closing in on you. He also has a bit of a bad boy in him and he likes to stretch rules and boundaries, especially where Candace is concerned.

Captain Candace “Ace” Bradford is one tough cookie. She worked hard to get where she is and does not want to jeopardize her job or career in any fashion, so she does her best to ward of the flirtatious Ryan. She is the daughter of a senator and feels that every move she makes will affect her family so she is pretty tightly wound at the beginning of the story. Ryan is so good at getting Candace to loosen up and the chemistry between them is hard to ignore.

Kaylea does a great job of balancing the romance and suspense in this story. We get to see the romantic interactions between the two while they are at Bagram but when they are in the heat of action in the cold mountains and fighting for their lives you have the suspense and the part of the story that has you holding your book (or ereader) just a bit too hard. Even when I was forced to put the book down I was thinking about the Ryan, Candace and the other US troops in the book like they were real people. My emotions and worry for the characters and the situation in the book spilled over to my reality a little bit.

I really liked Ryan’s glossary of terms in the back of the book. The military uses so many acronyms it is hard to keep up but Ryan was thoughtful enough to give us a glossary, with some added commentary of course. This was my favorite comment of his in the glossary: “AFSOC: Air Force Special Operations Command. Made up of CCTs like me, PJs, Weathermen (way more badass than it sounds) and gunship crews like Ace. We CCTs are the most awesome though, in case you were wondering.” This gives you a glimpse of Ryan’s fun personality. I was glad that in this book we got a glimpse of Maya and Jackson and look forward toward their book next in the series!

Interview with Kaylea:

Amy with So Many Reads (SMR): Thanks for joining us today, Kaylea! When/how did you know you wanted to write military romantic suspense over any other genre?

Kaylea: I’ve always loved military history, ever since I was little, and somewhere along the line that segued into an interest in Special Ops.  My favorite romantic suspense book of all time is Linda Howard’s All the Queen’s Men. I’d always wanted to write books, and right after I read that one, I knew I wanted to write my own military-themed romance. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

SMR: How do you find the experts you use for your books (PJ’s and other military contacts)?

Kaylea: I’ve been very fortunate so far with that, and I think it makes all the difference in my stories.  PJs are few and far between, numbering just over 300 active members, so I never thought I’d actually get the chance to connect with one. An old softball teammate now living in the States has been hooked into the military culture for some time, and on a long shot I sent her an email one day asking if she might know anyone who could put me in touch with a PJ. She answered that night saying she worked with a recently retired PJ at her fire hall! I couldn’t believe it. I remember my mouth falling open. This man has seriously been so sweet to me. He’s answered every question I’ve ever sent him about all sorts of things both medical and military, and he’s been super supportive of my books. He’s everything that epitomizes the selfless men of USAF Pararescue. Other contacts I’ve made through writing; friends who are married to ex-SEALs (how awesome is that?!), snipers (gah!) and other military branches. Also my father is a licensed helicopter pilot so I picked his and his instructors brains before I wrote Deadly Descent, and even went up on a few helo rides despite my very real phobia about flying.

SMR: What romantic suspense book (or series) would you recommend to someone who has never read the genre?

Kaylea: Linda Howard’s All the Queen’s Men, for sure. I love that book so much! I also adore Suzanne Brockmann’s writing, simply for her characters and dialogue. I love how she can tie all sorts of subplots together into one story. That takes talent.

SMR: When you are writing new characters, how do you know what they look like? Do you use real life people you see on the street or maybe actors/actresses or other TV/movie personalities?

Kaylea: I never use real life people, my imagination always does that for me. I’m actually not sure how they flesh themselves out in my brain; they just seem to appear as I’m plotting out a new book.

SMR: Did you have a favorite book or book series growing up? If so, what was it?

Kaylea: Oh, lord, yes! Sweet Valley High (don’t judge), and anything to do with the American Civil War (Yeah, it’s weird since I’m a Canadian, but there you go).

SMR: What is the most bizarre thing you have heard from one of your readers about your books?

Kaylea: Two things come to mind. The first was when a reader once sent me a very angry e-mail, complaining about a paranormal title I’d written. She was very upset that I’d “sold out” like all the other authors she used to read, by jumping on the paranormal romance train. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that accusation. The second was from an Army wife whose husband had just left for a nine month deployment to Afghanistan. She was part way through Deadly Descent when she contacted me, and she said her husband was a medevac helo pilot. I was worried the book might upset her or make the deployment more stressful for her, but she wound up really enjoyed the book. Much to my relief!

SMR: What is the best thing you have heard from one of your readers about your books?

Kaylea: I always love it when a reader contacts me to say how much they enjoyed the detail I put into my stories. As a civilian I know I’ll make mistakes with my information sometimes, but I do try to do my homework and I hope that shows. But I think the best compliment ever is when someone falls in love with my characters and feels like they know them personally after reading one of my books. 

SMR: Thanks for joining us today, Kaylea!

Kaylea: Thanks for having me, Amy!

Giveaway:

Kaylea is giving away one digital copy (pdf or epub) of Tactical Strike to one lucky commenter. To be entered into the drawing simply comment below and tell us about a family member or friend you know in the military. Contest is open until 11:59 pm central time on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Winner will be notified via email first and then announced on website after confirmation.

11 comments

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  1. Edie Ramer

    Kaylea, considering all the connections you found out you had to help you with the series, it almost seems as if you were supposed to write this. How cool. Congrats on your books doing so well!

    1. Kaylea Cross

      Edie, maybe! I really enjoy talking to “the guys” about specific military details, and so far they’ve been very sweet to me.

  2. Heather

    I am so excited to read this book…everyone knows I am a huge fan of Kaylea’s! I have been secretly waiting to read her last two books on vacation at the beach! Sorry I missed the twitter party….I will catch the next one!

    1. Kaylea Cross

      Hi, Heather! I’m leaving on vacay tonight, and hope to get a chance to take my Kindle to the beach. Right now it’s pouring rain in Kauai, but it’s pouring rain here too, so… Whatevs, at least it’s warmer there!

  3. Evelyn

    One of my friends from high school joined the army when he graduated. He was stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    1. Kaylea Cross

      Evelyn, I hope he’s doing okay. So hard on the soldier and their family.

  4. Christy

    I have a ex cousin in law that has been deployed over to the middle east without complaint. He is truly an example of an American hero. Thank you Chip Cormier!!

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a book and hear about so many great reads…Christy

    1. Christy

      I forgot to say he has been deployed 3 times.

      1. Kaylea Cross

        Men like Chip amaze me, Christy! That’s dedication to your country and to your fellow soldiers.

  5. Kaylea Cross

    I’m late to the party! Sorry about that. Thanks for having me here, Amy! 🙂

  6. Amy

    Thank you to everyone that stopped by and a big thank you to Kaylea for letting me do the interview and giving away a copy of the Tactical Strike. Loved Ryan and his job!

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