Monday, February 15, 2016

review || WILD AT HEART { blog tour } by T.J. Kline

Avon | February 9, 2016 | Contemporary Romance
Healing Harts, book 4


Sometimes the place you’re trying to run from is exactly where your heart needs to be…

Bailey Hart has never felt like she measures up to her cousins at Heart Fire Ranch. It doesn’t help that her rocker attitude has made her a black sheep in her small town. So when her band gets their big break in Los Angeles, “Wild Hart” can’t run fast enough…If only there weren’t so many reasons to stay.

After a harrowing stint in the Oakland Police Department, sheriff’s deputy Chase McKee has returned home a hero, and yet he feels anything but. And when he finds out Bailey might be leaving for good, the feelings he’s always harbored for his best friend’s cousin just won’t stay hidden. He knows she wants to get the heck out of Dodge, but he’s hoping to show her where she really belongs—with him.

Will this Wild Hart turn her back on love, or will she realize her heart really belongs closer to home?

{ about t.j. kline } .

T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and rodeo queen competitions since the age of 14, She has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has had several articles about rodeo published in the past in small periodicals as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah.

{ interview with t.j. kline } .

Tina, you just published the fourth title in the Healing Harts Series, which of the four was your favorite to write?

Bailey’s story (Wild at Heart) was definitely my favorite to write. She’s been such a fun character to deal with throughout the other three books that when it came time for her romance, I knew her extremely well. That’s not to say that she didn’t have a few surprises for me along the way. However, because readers have seen so much of her (and adore her) in the other Healing Harts novels, I wanted to be sure her story would live up to their expectations.

Where did the idea for the Healing Harts series come from?

It actually began as nothing more than an idea of something I always had a dream of doing – operating a horse rescue/youth camp. I knew there would be difficulties in running any nonprofit and that whoever ran it would have a difficult time going at it alone, so siblings were a must. Plus, I have a brother and a sister I couldn’t live without. I love the family dynamic, and the drama it ensues. From there, the Healing Harts series sort of took on a life of its own.

Do you have more fun writing the heroes or heroines POV?

It depends on what I’m writing. I write from both POV pretty equally and most of the time, it stems on whose head the reader needs to be in for each scene. For example, if I want the reader to see Bailey having second thoughts and questioning a rash decision, I’m going to have the scene in her POV rather than her heroes.  Because I write each scene very character-driven, I don’t think of it as male/female POV but as Bailey’s POV, or Chase’s POV.

What is your favorite type of scene to write and which is your least favorite?

I love writing the scenes that have a high emotional impact. These are usually the ones that the entire story has been building up to with heavy drama. You know, the ones where the characters grab your heart and twist it, wringing out every emotion you’ve felt so far. Those are fun. Now, the actual sex scenes…not so much. It’s a difficult balance to write sex in a new way without sounding corny, all while trying to remember to keep all of the parts in positions that a normal person might be able to perform.

Do you have a character that is most like you?

Honestly, there are parts of each character that are a lot like me. When I wrote Jessie, I remember thinking how much she was like me. Then, when I wrote Julia I thought, “I do that too.” Even Justin has some of my own personality traits (like his bossiness).  However, I can tell you that the way Bailey is most like me is her smart mouth.

What are you working on next?

As much as I’ve enjoyed writing the Healing Harts (and there are more to come), I have begun writing a new series based on a large group of siblings. While it’s similar in that it’s a small town contemporary set on a cattle ranch, it’s got a little bit of everything including football players, police officers, fireman, coffee shops, kids, secret babies, animals…you know, everything you’ve already come to expect in a T.J. Kline book and more.

Five Fun Things we don't know about you?

1) I rarely watch television and when I do, I binge watch entire seasons of shows.
2) I am obsessed with cute heels, even though I hardly ever wear them.
3) I have OCD when it comes to my drinkware cabinet in my kitchen. The rest of the cabinets, meh, not so much.
4) I love my coffee but it has to be made with heavy cream, not creamer (yuk!)
5) I have a beautiful, decorative gun cabinet filled with books that are special to me, locked and everything!

Thanks so much for chatting with us!

Thank you so much for having me! I can’t wait for you to see Bailey in action.

{ excerpt } .

Chase hoped his laughter hid the fact that he was so frickin’ turned on right now he was ready to explode. Watching Bailey swinging her hips, belting out the song at the top of her lungs, with that voice—husky, rich, and so damn seductive. He knew her voice could be as smooth as honey, like when she was trying to convince Justin to let her con him as kids—or trying to con him out of a speeding ticket—but he’d never expected she could sing like that. And that growl thing she did had him thinking about how he might make her do it again.

Just what he needed, one more thing about her to keep him awake at night, wishing things were different between them.

Gracie let out a sharp bark and trotted to the couch, pressing her nose against Bailey’s neck. Chase moved to the edge of the sofa and held a hand out to help her up, but she brushed him off. “I can manage just fine.”

“I see that.” He laughed but took a step back, tucking his fingers into the front pockets of his jeans. Bailey had an independent streak a mile wide and was twice as exasperating. He turned off the vacuum cleaner and lifted it upright, moving it away from the couch as she tangled her feet in the cord again. “Watch yourself.”

She sighed loudly and shot him a death glare. “I said, I’ve got it.” She sat up on the couch and Gracie jumped up beside her, licking her chin. “You think you could call off your mutt?”

She sounded irritated, but Chase didn’t miss the smile tugging the corners of her mouth up or the way her eyes shimmered playfully as she ran her hand over Gracie’s head, rubbing her favorite spot behind her right ear.

“What can I say? She likes you.” He couldn’t help himself from pressing his luck. “But not as much as she loves me. Isn’t that right, Gracie?”

When he’d originally had the idea to become her handler, he’d never expected her to become his best friend and, these days, the closest thing he had to a woman in his life. The dog jumped down from the couch and sat at his feet, staring up at him with dark eyes filled with pure adoration.

“At least someone does,” she shot back. “Why are you here again?”

“I came by to talk to Jessie about a couple boys in foster care right now. My dad thinks they might be a good fit for her program.”

“Then you should probably head back to the house to talk to her and let me finish cleaning so I can get to Julia’s in time to make dinner.”

“She’s evaluating a couple horses so I’ve got to wait a few minutes. I saw your bike and thought I’d come say hi and make sure you hadn’t killed yourself on it yet.”

“Hi and, as you can see, I’m fine, so good-bye.”

“I can . . .”

She bent over and untangled the knots she’d tied in the vacuum cord while she’d been spinning. The sight of her firm, rounded rear pointed his direction was enough to send his thoughts spiraling into the cosmos. She glanced back at him over her shoulder and caught him staring at her butt.

“Anything else you need?” She let her eyes skim over him, from the top of his short hair to his work boots, as she stood upright. “Or maybe you need a few more minutes to check out my ass?”

The corner of his mouth lifted in a smirk and he took a step closer. “What can I say, Bailey? Those jeans make your ass look great.”

Her eyes sparked with fire but a smile caressed her lips. He took another step toward her, standing only a few inches away, close enough that he could see the pulse racing at her throat and could hear the intake of her breath. He only had to bend his head slightly.

Move another inch and Justin will kill you.

Instead of kissing her the way he wanted to, he bent over and wound the vacuum cord around the pegs on the machine, giving her the opportunity to look at his rear. “There, your turn.”

Bailey’s frown flitted over her face so quickly he barely noticed it before she rolled her eyes at him. “Thanks, but I think I’d rather finish cleaning.”

“Nothing’s stopping you, unless you can’t force yourself to stop looking,” he teased. A blush rose, coloring her cheeks.

“I . . .”

He’d never seen Bailey at a loss for words. She always had some smart-ass comment and to see her flustered, even for a moment, surprised him. He stood up and watched as Gracie followed her into the breakfast nook, where she slid the cleaners back into a small carryall tote.

“Sorry to be the one to break it to you, Chase, but those slacks do nothing for you.” That’s the Bailey I know.

Any other guy might have taken her at face value or been insulted by her comment, but he felt his heart pound harder in his chest at her words. He’d always been a “glass is half-full” kind of guy.

“So you have been checking out my butt?”

The color crept over her cheeks again, turning them pink, but she shrugged nonchalantly. “You wiggled it enough at the bachelor auction. I think it’s burned into everyone’s brains whether we want it there or not.”

Chase tried to ignore the disappointment that sank into the pit of his stomach. For a second, he’d thought . . .

It was better this way, better that she thought he was just being ornery and harmlessly flirting, the way they always did, always had. “Someday, Bailey, you’ll admit you want me.”

“And someday, Chase,” she said as she turned back toward him with her hand on her hip, “hell will freeze over.”

{ review } .

Finally, it's cousin Bailey's turn in this Hart family saga.

Bailey has always felt out of place in the Hart clan. Her cousins are well-known and well-liked, where she's simply the town wild child. It certainly doesn't help that cousin Justin is always nit-picking her and her dreams.

...granted, Justin has always had his hand in his sisters' businesses too, but I suppose it feels different when you're the cousin and being held back from what you want from life. All Bailey wants is to leave the town she grew up in behind -- leave behind the snide remarks and the back-talk, and go do what she really wants and tour with her band.

Then there was Chase. He would flirt and be kind when others were talking snidely to and about her, but she never got the vibe that he wanted to go somewhere with their friendship. He was just Justin's best friend, and she was just his cousin. Watching Chase try to get Bailey to stay, trying to allow his wants and desires to surface when he still harbors guilt over an accident with his last police partner, was well written. I loved Chase and his inner battles, but really enjoyed him when he was trying to do right by Bailey. He was caught between two good people and trying to keep in both of their good graces, all while trying to be true to himself.

Bailey has always been an interesting character to me. She's the Amy Duggar of the group, if you will. She has good intentions and she has legit dreams, she just has always been a little out of place in her family. Her mother left her high and dry, and trying to find her place in the company of her do-good cousins has been an on-going battle. Justin's intentions, though, for keeping Bailey home and away from her music career are surprisingly good -- but for whatever reason, he has a poor way of talking Bailey down.

I really enjoyed these characters, and loved catching up with the rest of the Harts. Bailey wasn't necessarily my favorite of the girls, but I did enjoy Chase and felt that Ms. Kline did a great job with his guilt as well as his emotions where Bailey was concerned.

for other reviews & tour goodies,

{ previous reviews in series } .

TAKING HEART 4.5 review }
 CLOSE TO HEART 5 review }

{ giveaway } .

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Thank you for hosting WILD AT HEART today!

    Crystal, Tasty Book Tours