I especially love Europe. I’ve been to England, of course, since back then I was writing historicals set in the Regency and Victorian periods. I’ve also been to France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Italy, the Chech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Scotland, the Caribbean, and miscellaneous places I can barely recall.
On a cruise we took to Mexico a few years back with twenty-five other authors and six hundred and fifty readers (Wow! Was that fun!), one of the stops we made was in Belize.
I mention this particularly because I used my experiences in Belize when I was writing AGAINST THE NIGHT, my newest AGAINST novel, released the end of February.
Our ship anchored offshore and we took a launch boat to the mainland. We spent the hundred degree, ninety percent humidity day with a couple of our favorite friends, Kathleen and Michael Gear, the anthropologist/archeologists who write the PEOPLE books set 10,000 years ago.
I did, however, leave out the part about our trip to a non-tourist, locals restaurant where we ordered native food (the Gears insisted, though there was no air conditioning and it must have been a hundred and twenty degrees inside! I’ll pay them back for that someday.)
At any rate, we wanted to eat local cooking so we ordered capybara, a meat and rice dish that tasted pretty good but was spicy and hot, like everything else. The bad news was, it turns out a capybara is the largest rodent in the world! A rat about two feet long!
Oh, yeah. We ate it and never forgot the experience.
So you can see where the adventures you have in life make great fodder for stories.
Lots of authors use a journal. I think it’s a great idea. Or just keep a few photos, anything that reminds you of the experiences you had when you were there. And it doesn’t really matter where you go. Anyplace can bring you excitement, adventure, or just simple insight into a place different from where you live.
Along with the memories I had of Belize, I did research on the country, even used Google Earth to give me a fresh look at the tropical landscape I describe in AGAINST THE NIGHT.
It’s Johnnie Riggs’ story, an ex-Army Ranger turn P.I whose specialty is the underbelly of the city. In a place called the Kitty Cat Club where he’s working on an assignment, Johnnie first spots Angel Fontaine, a petite blond exotic dancer.
From the moment he sees her, Johnnie wants her in his bed. The problem is that Angel Fontaine is really Amy Brewer, a kindergarten teacher from Michigan, a young woman risking her life to find her missing sister, whose job she has taken in the club.
I hope you’ll watch for AGAINST THE NIGHT and that you enjoy it. After that, AGAINST THE SUN, with Jake Cantrell and Sage Dumont, will be out the end of May.
Till then, all best and happy reading. Warmest, Kat
Blurb of AGAINST THE NIGHT:
He knows what goes on in the dark.
She’s got the face of an angel and the body of…well, isn’t that what he’d expect from an exotic dancer? But there’s something about this girl that Johnnie Riggs can’t shake. The former army ranger is hot on the trail of an elusive drug lord—and suddenly very hot under the collar, as well.
Amy’s got her own agenda to pursue: her sister is missing and Amy seems to be the only one who cares. She’ll enlist Johnnie's help and do her best to ignore her growing attraction to finally get some answers. But when the two trails begin to converge and reveal something even more sinister than they imagined, their mutual desire is the least of their problems. They’ll bring the truth to light…or die trying.
Johnnie Riggs was a night owl. A former Army Ranger with a PI’s license, Johnnie spent most of his time in the bars and clubs of Los Angeles, digging up information for clients who could afford his fees. And the occasional recovery job, if the money was high enough.
Which was the reason that tonight he sat at a table at the Kitty Cat Club on Sunset Boulevard, watching a little blond pole dancer with the hottest body he’d ever seen and trying like hell not to get an erection.
Johnnie reached for the Bud Light sitting in front of him, took a swallow and set the barely touched bottle back down on the table. He wasn’t there to get drunk. He wasn’t there to get turned on by some sexy little piece of fluff.
He was there to make a collar and a nice chunk of change.
He glanced around the club, one of the better-run strip joints in the area, a place an out-of-town businessman could go for a little harmless fun and not feel like he was about to get mugged when he walked outside to catch a cab.
Johnnie knew the owner, a guy named Tate Watters, a reasonable sort who ran a clean operation. Tate knew Johnnie was there to collect a skip, but he was a stand-up guy who did his best to stay on the right side of the law, and having a pervert around--Johnnie’s target--wasn’t good for business.
It was dark inside the club except for the neon beer signs behind the bar, the soft glow of lights over gilt-framed photos of nineteen fifties strippers that hung on the walls. A row of colored spotlights lit the woman performing on stage.
The place smelled like stale beer and cheap perfume, and rock music hid the sound of clinking bar glasses and the heavy breathing of the men. Customers sat in the darkness at small round tables sipping whiskey or beer, staring toward the entertainment with big smiles on their faces.
Johnnie didn’t blame them. He’d be wearing a big smile, too, along with a raging hard-on if he wasn’t there on business.
He watched the woman on stage, twenty-five or six, a pretty little erotic dancer in nothing but red sequined pasties and a matching gee string. She wasn’t just small, she was dainty, little more than five feet tall, with the shiniest, straightest, long blond hair he’d ever seen. Short bangs fluttered across her forehead above a pair of blue eyes that made him shift in his seat against his growing arousal, and muttering a curse between his teeth.
The music played, the beat steady, loud and erotic. As she raised a red spike heel, tucked her ankle around the pole, and slid up, then sank back down, rubbing the pole between her pale, perfectly proportioned legs, he felt a tug in his gut so strong he had to shove back his chair and get up from the table. Grabbing his beer bottle, he walked to the back of the club where he could watch the room and put a little more distance between him and the scrumptious dancer on stage.
He scanned the patrons, keeping a careful watch for his target.
Earlier in the week, he’d gotten a call from his Ranger buddy in Houston. Trace Rawlins owned a security firm with branches in Houston and Dallas. In the years since they’d left the Army, they had worked together a dozen times, most recently on an abduction case that had led them into Mexico.
According to Trace, a guy named Ray Carroll had jumped bail and was on the run. Rumor was he had friends in L.A. and odds were good that was where he had gone to ground. Good ol’ Ray had been arrested for possession and trafficking in child pornography--the lowest of the low as far as Johnnie was concerned. He would have taken the guy down for free if he’d had to, which fortunately he didn’t.
What made the case interesting was that Ray was the grandson of the widow of wealthy Texas oil billionaire, C.P. Carroll. The widow was filthy rich and she doted on her grandson, which, with that kind of money at his command, made Ray a flight risk. His bail had been set at a half million dollars, which his grandmother had posted.
But Ray had taken off for parts unknown, leaving grandma on the hook for a boatload of money if her boy wasn’t caught and brought back to appear in court. For ten percent of the bail fee, a cool fifty thou less a referral fee to Trace, Johnnie had agreed to find him. Surprisingly, once he’d started digging, narrowing his search hadn’t been all that hard.
Since zebras didn’t change their stripes and jackals like Ray were fairly predictable, it didn’t take long to find out that Carroll hung out in the local strip clubs.
The Kitty Cat was his favorite. According to the bartender who I.D.ed the photo Johnnie had received over the Internet, a guy calling himself Ray Conners had been in the club both Wednesday and Thursday nights. Johnnie had come in on Friday and was there again tonight but so far hadn’t seen any sign of him. Not until now.
The black padded vinyl front door swung open, letting a thin slice of street noise into the club. Recalling the photo, Johnnie recognized Ray Carroll as he ambled through the entry and made his way over to the bar. He was an average-looking forty-year-old, with thinning brown hair and the kind of greasy smile you’d expect to see on a creep like him. He sat down on one of the black vinyl bar stools and the bartender, a tall, spare, good-looking Hispanic named Dante, flashed Johnnie a heads-up glance before taking Ray’s drink order, a double Grey Goose martini on the rocks.
Johnnie sipped his beer, his attention fixed on Ray, who stared with fascination toward the stage. The dancer, Angel Fontaine, being not much bigger than a kid, was Ray’s favorite. He watched as she dipped and swayed to the music, the red-sequined cones over her nipples flashing in the spotlight, the light changing color to the rhythm of the beat.
Johnnie tried to look away, but found himself as mesmerized as the drunks at the tables. Like the rest of her body, her breasts were perfectly formed, not too large, not too small, and tilted provocatively upward.
Her face wasn’t perfect, he had finally gotten around to noticing. Her mouth was a little too wide, making her pouty lips a little too pronounced. Her cheeks were as flawless as rose petals but her chin was a little too pointy.
She was the sexiest woman, Johnnie had ever seen.
She turned, thrust her pale, luscious bottom into the air and wiggled it suggestively, and his groin tightened. If he didn’t make his move soon, he wouldn’t be able to walk, let alone make a collar.
Ray came off the stool just then and started toward the stage. Johnnie noticed the folded dollar bills in one hand as he approached the little blonde.
Another man beat Ray to her, leaned over and stuffed a ten dollar bill into the girl’s sequined gee string, the scrap of red barely covering the spot every guy in the place dreamed of touching. Angel whirled away from him and smiled, mouthed a thank you. When she turned her back, raised her arms above her head, and began swaying to the hard rock beat, another man stuffed a bill into the glittering strip of red around her waist above that sweet little ass.
Ray moved closer, hovering as Angel approached the edge of the stage. He leaned toward her, stuffed the money into her gee string. He was grinning when he turned away, his mind on pussy instead of escape.
Johnnie made his move, leaping the last few feet, slamming into Carroll, knocking him over an empty table, both of them crashing to the floor. Ray struggled as Johnnie caught his arm, cranked it behind his back, lifted and hauled him to his feet. Johnnie caught sight of the club’s big Asian bouncer moving toward them, but he didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry. Guess he’d got word about the pervert, too.
Carroll squirmed in his grasp. “Who the hell are you?”
“I’m your worst nightmare,” Johnnie said, cranking the arm a little higher, eliciting a satisfying grunt of pain. “I’m the guy who’s gonna make sure you get back to Houston safe and sound.” Ray stumbled a couple of times as Johnnie’s heavy frame propelled him forward, slamming him into the wall beside the door. “I’m the guy who’s gonna put your sorry, perverted ass back in jail.”
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Purchase AGAINST THE NIGHT:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/against-the-night-kat-martin/1105027926?ean=9780778313199&itm=1&usri=against+the+night