Semper Paratus. Always ready.
HIS LAST DEFENSE
Released March 21, 2017
Semper Paratus. Always ready.
Years ago, Coast Guard rescue swimmer Dylan Holt left Kodiak, Alaska, with his heart in pieces. He thought Nolee Arnauyq and her mouthwatering curves were behind him—until he's sent to rescue the crew of a capsizing boat…including Nolee. And Dylan is definitely not ready for the too-familiar way his body aches at seeing her again.
Nolee's always gone after what she wanted, and to hell with the risks. Now she's a rookie ship captain taking on the deadly waters of the Bering Sea. But out on these treacherous waters, there's no way to avoid the sizzling sexual tension between them—or the dangerous pull of emotions that could leave both their hearts lost at sea…
You would think that this is just another love story and yes, it does have it's moments but with the action of what happens on a fishing boat, it seems it's so much more than just a romance book. I loved the fact that the Author modeled this story after the Deadliest Catch to get the story even more life like. If you are in need of a short read that is filled with romance, action or just something different, you need to read this book!!
Thank You to Karen Rock for writing a story that made me curious about your other books and what is to come from you!!
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from Tasty Book Tours!
“You have fifty seconds and then I want you on deck, Holt,” barked Dylan’s commander. “Over.”
The sea receded and Dylan shoved his way along the slick deck of the sinking ship, propelling himself forward across its steep slant. “Roger that.”
He would get Nolee out. End of story.
Descending as fast as he dared, he fought the wind and dropped down into the hull again. Icy water made his breath catch even with the benefit of the dry suit. Nolee should have been out of here long before now.
“I’ve almost got it.” Her strained voice emerged from blue lips. Her movements were jerky as she twisted wire around the still gushing pipe.
His eardrums banged with his heartbeat.
She was losing motor function. Hypothermia was already setting in. With only thirty seconds left, he made an executive decision.
“It’s over, Nolee. Come with me now.”
He would haul her out by force if necessary. Braced himself for just that.
Yet when she opened her mouth, her head lolled. Her eyelids dropped. Reacting on instinct, he grabbed her limp form before she crumpled into the freezing water.
His throat closed, and he had to make himself breathe. He hauled her up and out of the hull and across the deck where a rescue strop dangled. Damn, damn, damn. His hands weren’t cooperating, his own motor function feeling the effects of this cursed sea. Once he’d tethered them together, he gave his watching flight mechanic a thumbsup for the hoist. The boat flung them sideways, careening over the rail.
Swinging, their feet skimmed the deadly swells. The line jerked them from harm and sped them up through the stinging air. He tightened his arms around her. Imagined them made of steel. With only a tether connecting her to him, he couldn’t lose his grip. It was the difference between saving her life and causing her to fall to her death.
As they rose, he forced himself not to look at her. He’d dreamed about that face too many times, even after he left Kodiak to forget her.
But he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t hold her close. And heaven help him—no matter how much she’d gutted him nine years ago—he couldn’t deny she felt damned good in his arms.
Tasty Q&A with Karen Rock
Describe yourself in five words or less.
Romantic dreamer and complete dork.
Can you tell us a little about your book?
This is a high-stakes, action-packed second-chance romance that takes place on Alaska’s most deadly waters: The Bering Sea. Nolee Arnauyq is a crab fishing boat captain who’s determined to make her own way in a man's world after growing up dependent on others' charity. She doesn't want to be rescued, least of all by the ex that broke her heart, USCG rescue swimmer Dylan Holt who plucks her from her sinking vessel after he's been assigned back to his old hometown in Alaska. Out on the most dangerous waters in the world, where a tumble overboard will stop your heart in five seconds, Dylan's greatest worry is his returning feelings for Nolee, a woman who's never left his heart or thoughts, no matter how far he's traveled for his coast guard work. He plans to transfer stateside as soon as possible, and leave the stifling hometown that holds bad memories, but Nolee's proving to be one sizzling temptation his body, and heart, can't resist.
How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
I’m addicted to Discovery Channel’s hit show THE DEADLIEST CATCH! I knew I wanted to set a book in this extreme setting but needed the right, high-octane story. When I saw an episode where a USCG Air and Sea Rescue team rescues a crab fishing crew from a sinking vessel, I imagined the ultimate sexy alpha hero- a fearless rescue swimmer daring and determined enough to fling himself into most dangerous waters in the world to save others. Of course, then I needed a heroine strong enough to go toe-to-toe with such a tough guy and who better than a headstrong, fearless crab fishing boat captain whose staked her claim in this testosterone-charged world. I wanted them to be second-chance lovers with lots to lose by risking their hearts with each other again. Putting them on a boat together in a life-and-death adventure, where they can’t resist their sizzling chemistry, made this one of my favorite sexy romances to write of all time.
What gave you the most trouble with this story?
My biggest challenge was the painstaking research I undertook to ensure that I created an authentic experience for the readers in the unique world of crab fishing on Alaska’s Bering Sea. In addition to watching lots of THE DEADLIEST CATCH episodes and videos of USCG Air and Sea rescues, I fact checked with USCG Commander Bill Friday, a Jayhawk pilot who was stationed for several years in Kodiak, Alaska and one of THE DEADLIEST CATCH’S captain's THE TIME BANDIT'S Jonathan Hillstrand. He provided the kind of insider details that helped me convey an unforgettably sexy romance set on treacherous waters.
Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
My cell phone! I’d feel lost if I couldn’t connect to my family and friends via social media, email and texts. The downside is that it’s also next to me as I write and even though I mute it, and turn it upside down, I still find myself checking it way too much.
Name three things on your desk right now.
Since my “desk” is really an easy chair where I write with my laptop, the following three things are on it: a can of lemon-flavored seltzer water wedged between me and the arm rest, Post-It notes stuck to the edges of my laptop reminding me of appointments, changes to make to my MS, reminders for contests and grocery lists, and my puppy, Zoey, who takes her job as “author assistant” very seriously by laying at the end of my chair, her head resting on my ankle, as I write.
Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? ;)
Nolee Arnauyq has a white father, who abandoned her before she was born, and an Inuit mother who struggled to provide for them due to her serious health issues. Growing up dependent on others' charity has made Nolee fiercely independent and determined to make her way in the world- even in a man's world- like becoming a crab fishing boat captain. This high risk job also comes with huge rewards and she's willing to gamble all, even her life, to never be dependent on anyone else again, and to provide for her mother. It surprised me just how easy it was to insert a female character into such a macho world. The crew men accept her as their leader and look up to her because she's good at her job and keeps them safe while pulling lots of crab to fatten their bank accounts. She can also transform from tough as nails captain to an irresistible temptress when she decides to make the most of her time with her ex, gorgeous USCG rescue swimmer Dylan Holt. If stranded on a deserted isle, the one thing she’d need to have with her would be a fishing pole since she’s an expert fisherman and could feed herself with it.
Dylan Holt grew up in Kodiak Alaska. He’s the youngest son of a father he could never please, especially when he refused to join the family business to join the Coast Guard as a rescue swimmer. He’s tough, fearless and gorgeous with a sense of humor that’s disarming and so sexy. He’s also loyal and passionate and he’s never forgotten his first love, Nolee Arnauyq, who crushed his heart years ago. He vowed never to return to Alaska, but can’t avoid confronting his past when he rescues Nolee off her sinking crab fishing vessel when he’s transferred to the USCG Kodiak Air Station. Dylan is a talented swimmer and exceptional athlete. If he were stranded on a deserted isle, he’d need to have his swim gear (snorkel, mask and fins) so that he could deep dive for crab and other fish to feed himself, and possibly swim to safety. If anyone could cross an ocean in fins- it’d be Dylan.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Military and law enforcement heroes are the ultimate sexy alpha male romantic hero. They’re strong, commanding, passionate, fearless and are smoking hot in those uniforms! I love personal courage and conviction and plan to write many more books featuring them. I’m drawn to stories with lots of edgy action and am currently working on a high-stakes suspense series set in a Dallas male strip club that will feature under cover law enforcement. Book One- Dangerous Moves- will be released with Kensington Press in 2018. For updates about my new releases and giveaways, follow my Amazon author page at http://amzn.to/1NSRVrT , follow me on Goodreads on http://www.goodreads.com/karenrockauthor or drop by my website at http://www.karenrock.com
Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes red-hot novels for Harlequin Blaze and small-town romances for Harlequin Heartwarming. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile. When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who’s typically immersed in three different books at a time, all in different genres. She also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking, Christmas (no need to specify—she loves every bit of it), and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat who keep her life interesting and complete. Learn more about her at her website.