~by Karen Rock. A huge thanks to my fellow Heartwarming authors for encouraging me and even offering to give up their blog spot today (Pam J) so that I can share my exciting news about today’ release of my debut Young Adult Romance novel, CAMP BOYFRIEND . It’s co-authored with my talented sister-in-law and Harlequin Blaze author, Joanne Rock. The excitement and anticipation leading up to the sales launch of the first book in our series is exhilarating!
Joanne and I formed our writing partnership a year and a half ago while treating ourselves to a well deserved (ahem) lunch after a strenuous day of bargain shopping. We gals have to eat, right? Plus- we saved all that money- so no guilt- especially over the chocolate lava cakes! Our splurge resulted in a decision to combine our mutual love of romance and teen literature and co-write a series that drew on our favorite memories from summer camp. We traded stories about goofy counselors, lasting friendships, outdoor trips gone horribly wrong and wonderfully right, and first loves, crushes, and stolen kisses. The magic of camp returned to us and we ended our meal with the beginnings of CAMP BOYFRIEND and ideas for follow-up novels : CAMP PAYBACK (April 2014) and CAMP FORGET-ME-NOT (August 2014). More information is available for the series at Goodreads.
Spencer Hill Press contracted the series from us in August, 2012 and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to be working with such a dynamic, growing press. They’d expanded recently to include a contemporary imprint http://www.spencerhillcontemporary.com/ and our Editor-in-Chief, Patricia Riley, told us we’d been chosen to launch the line! No pressure- lol. Since then it’s been an amazing journey of working on the remaining books in the series as well as extras such as free promotional novellas- the first being CAMP KISS, http://bit.ly/YqeGLy to download easily and without cost. We’ve had a lot of fun meeting fans, bloggers, reviewers and fellow authors through social media and at conferences and running current promotional contests such as our “Camp Crushes Countdown” on Pinterest, “Honest Reviews” on Amazon, and a “Tumblr Reblog” contest. A link to enter these contests and more is http://bit.ly/1aNuBpX .
We were even fortunate enough to have a fellow YA author, Carrie Jones, author of the NY Times best-selling NEED series, review our book. She said, “Fun, romantic & giddy, CAMP BOYFRIEND brings real romance to summer camp with grace, humor and passion.” WOW! To see her review and others, and to order CAMP BOYFRIEND, go to http://amzn.to/15704xi .
Additionally, we’ve begun our “CAMPING OUT” blog tour that includes stops with YA lit blogs in both the US and the UK! A daily prize is awarded for commenting on the blog and a grand prize is also awarded to those who comment on any of these blogs. Catch up with our blog tour, which includes behind the scenes details about the series, extras, and fun questions and games about the series ow.ly/mA4Of .
I’m so excited for you to read CAMP BOYFRIEND! Here’s a sneak peek. Hope you like it:
Thunder rolled through the camp, sending the last of the families scurrying indoors, leaving Matt and I alone in the narrow, shadowed space of the dugout. “If you don’t play football, what will you do this fall?”
Matt cupped the back of my head and he lowered his nose until it touched mine. “This,” he whispered, then captured my lips in a kiss more electrifying than the war nature waged outside. His mouth was gentle at first, but the pressure grew more insistent until we both gasped for breath. My head whirled and I thought I’d black out until he lowered me to the bench.
The warmth of his bare chest seeped into my soaked tank, the drumming of his heart faster than the clattering rain. His lips left mine and travelled along my jaw to my earlobe. I shuddered when he lightly nibbled, the shock of pleasure intense.
My hands slid along his back, the muscles bunching beneath my touch. I traced the ridge above his hip and felt him tremble, his breath growing ragged. But when his fingers tugged up the hem of my shirt I was the one who sounded winded. His palms skimmed upward against my ribcage until they cupped my flesh, driving me crazy. Only another kiss kept me from making a noise. The storm was loud, but I didn’t want to risk alerting others that we were behind the water curtain flowing in front of the dugout.
“Matt,” I gasped, loving the feel of his hands on me, the pressure of his hips against mine. I was as hot as a stoked furnace, heat sizzling everywhere at once. My fingers buried themselves in the thick hair at the nape of his neck and I pressed my lips to his, wanting more of him.
He pulled me up and onto his lap. My hair dripped down my back as my head lolled, his mouth leaving a trail of fire along my neck before dipping lower to my clavicle and lower still. I kissed his brow, his temple, and his square jaw while his mouth explored. I wanted it to go on and on, but suddenly he pulled back, his chest rising and falling like one of those old-time bellows I’d seen on a school field trip.
His face was fierce, intense, every handsome feature sharpened. His hungry eyes were backlit with fire as they roamed over me. Why had he stopped?
“Lauren,” he said when it seemed he’d finally caught his breath. I’d never seen him this winded, not even after the endless sprints of football practice. “If we go any farther I won’t be able to stop.” His eyes searched mine, willing me to understand what he was saying.
“Oh.” My cheeks went up in flames and scrambled off his lap. Thank god the heavy waterfall had obscured us from view. I tugged down my tank top and pinched the bridge of my nose, feeling a headache coming on.
“Hey.” Matt lifted my chin until I was forced to meet his warm blue-green eyes, the color as inviting as a Caribbean vacation brochure. “There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. You’re my girlfriend. I love you.”
My heart seized. He’d dropped the L-bomb. We’d skirted around the word for months, saying things like, “I love that about you” or just a casual “Love ya” that sounded like friends. But this. It was huge. What to say? The obvious answer was no answer since I still cared about Seth. But a fierce need to return the words clawed to the surface and fought its way out.
“I love you too.”
He crushed me against his chest, his hands twining in my frizzing waves. I did love him, I marveled. His warmth. His sense of humor. His strength of purpose and conviction. But was I in love with him? That was the bigger question. One I had no clue how to answer.
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt as much as we enjoyed writing it. To read more about CAMP BOYFRIEND, please visit our website www.campboyfriend.net. The novel is available at major book retailers, independent bookstores, and by order or download on Barnes and Nobles http://bit.ly/16LGZn0 and Amazon http://amzn.to/15704xi. Do you think Matt sounds like a good book boyfriend? Comment below and be automatically entered to win my giveaway of an “I <3 My Camp Boyfriend T-shirt, an autographed copy of CAMP BOYFRIEND and its prequel CAMP KISS. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!