Thursday, May 10, 2018

Interview & Giveaway ~ UNDERCOVER WITH THE NANNY by Cathy Skendrovich

Undercover with the Nanny
by: Cathy Skendrovich
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 23, 2018
Publisher: Entangled Publishing ~ Ignite
Amazon | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

Falling for his suspect is against the rules…

DEA agent Sawyer Hayes came to California in search of a drug cartel leader who slipped through his fingers in El Paso. The link to finding him is Kate Munroe, a nanny for one of his henchmen. The problem? He didn’t expect to be so drawn to a possible suspect. How is he supposed to do his job when his growing feelings for her are clouding his judgment?

Interior designer Kate Munroe’s life is a train wreck. Her parents’ deaths left her with their mounds of debt, she can’t get a job designing even a cubicle, and she’s bunking in her best friend’s spare bedroom. To make ends meet, she’s a nanny to a lonely little boy whose rich father works all the time. Romance is not on her radar. But her hot new neighbor could change her mind, with his broad shoulders and Southern charm. Too bad his secrets could destroy her.

Hi Cathy. Welcome to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. How are you?
I’m doing great!

Congratulations on the release of Undercover with the Nanny. Tell me about the characters of Sawyer Hayes and Kate Munroe.
Ah, I love these two characters. Sawyer Hayes is all about doing his job and doing it right. He went into the DEA to make a difference. He has daddy issues, because his father was a workaholic, but Sawyer doesn’t realize he’s following in his father’s footsteps. He’s all work and no play. Until Kate Munroe comes along and scrambles his brains, his emotions, and what he’s always valued as right and wrong. Those lines begin to blur whenever he’s around her.

Kate, on the other hand, has trust issues. She, as an only child, and her parents, were really tight, until they were both killed in a car accident. They paid for her education but left all the bills to her when they died. Now she must pick up the slack and work her butt off to pay them off. She has no time for a handsome, cocky new neighbor that she seems to run into everywhere. But, damn, is he hot!

What can you tell me about the story?
Sawyer is tracking the pilot for a drug cartel in hopes he will lead him to the cartel boss. Unfortunately, his best link to the pilot is that man’s nanny. Does she know she works for a criminal, or is she innocent? Sawyer doesn’t know, but as he gets closer to her, he begins to care even less if she is, and that’s dangerous. But he can’t stop falling for her.

Is Undercover with the Nanny the start of a new series for you? I mean there is this other guy named Ian that I know nothing about. But I think I want to, if he’s single that is.
Funny you should ask that. I am working on a spin-off involving Ian. I need to see if my publisher is good with that, because I have a really good idea for a plot. We’ll have to wait and see.

I recently read an extended excerpt of the book. I have to admit, I really liked what I read. Sawyer and Kate came off very playful with one another in their first meeting. What do you love about them?
I love their chemistry. I created Kate because I wanted a really, really strong woman who still had a vulnerable side. I imagined Jane from Blindspot. I saw Chris Pratt as Sawyer, and when I put the first scene of the book on paper, bam! The two characters just exploded together. The book got a lot sexier than I originally planned, but that’s okay, because these two demanded it.

I’m always curious as to why authors pair certain characters together. What is it about Kate and Sawyer that make them perfect for each other?
Kate is strong. Sawyer is strong. Neither one of them would do well with a meek partner. They’d overshadow them. Kate is very serious, and Sawyer has a nutty sense of humor, that makes Kate laugh. And Kate evens Sawyer out. I mean, he was in danger of becoming a workaholic like his dad, but Kate changed his priorities. He liked who he was when he was with her.

Okay. I’m just going to be honest. I might have been doing a little author stalking, reading every excerpt I could find. But that’s a story for another day. The point is you make me want to keep reading. How do you know when you have the right tools or words in place to have the reader on the edge of their seat begging for me?
Oh, wow. That’s a challenging question. I’m a slow writer, as a rule. I picture a particular scene in my head, and I write it down, any old way, just to capture the moment. Then I go back and finesse it, changing words, tweaking descriptions. I try to put myself in the scene, and describe how I would feel if I was tied up in the passenger seat, or if I was slapped around. I guess I would say I channel my emotions into the book. Often a scene will keep bugging me, and that’s when I know I have to change it. It won’t let me move on until I fix it.

I know it’s not Christmas time….But..I hear you make these amazing Gingerbread Boys that take two days to make. Why so long?
They are amazing. I learned how to make them when I was sixteen, and I’ve only missed one year, when I was pregnant and had the flu. And my oldest is now 28. Anyway, you have to make the dough, which has 7 cups of flour, and then let it rest for a few hours in the fridge. I make a double batch, because my family devours them. Then you have to roll them out and use a cookie cutter for all the little guys. Then you bake them. That’s the first day, because they have to cool. On the second day, you ice them. That takes a lot of time, because I make a hat, eyes, mouth, bow tie, sleeves, belt, buttons, and pants with different colors. So that’s why it’s a two-day process. The dough rolling is the hardest part. My husband helps me sometimes.

I’m not that good of a baker, but I have my moments. Is this a fool-proof recipe?
It’s not for a beginner, I’ll say that much. It’s not exactly hard, but it’s time-consuming. When I was a young mom, I often wanted to skip making them, but my boys loved them so much, I couldn’t disappoint them. They are worth the work, because they are the best-tasting gingerbread I’ve ever had.

Gingerbread Boys

Mix thoroughly: 1/3 C. soft butter or margarine
1 C. brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 C. dark molasses
Slowly stir in: 2/3 C. cold water
Sift together & stir in: 7 C. sifted flour
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves (ground)
1 tsp. cinnamon
Cake decorating icing tubes (for later): 2 red, 2 white, 2 green
Chill dough a couple hours

Roll out very thick (1/2”). Use gingerbread boy cookie cutter. With a spatula, carefully transfer gingerbread boys to lightly greased sheet. Bake. Cool slightly, then carefully remove from baking sheet. Allow to cool. (I wait overnight). With cake decorating icing (I use Betty Crocker or Cake Mate, but you can make your own), make hat, eyes, mouth, tie, cuffs, belt & buckle, shoes, buttons, and any other designs. You may use candies and raisins instead of icing.

Temp: 350˚

Time: about 15 min.

Hint: If you do happen to bake these a bit too long and they get crunchy, you can slice up an apple and put a few pieces in with the cookies overnight in their air-tight container. This will soften up the cookies to the perfect consistency!

Cathy, thank you so much for answering some questions for me. I am definitely adding Undercover with the Nanny to reading list.
Thank you, for inviting me on your blog!

Just one more knock.

She gave what she thought was one last, good rap. Silence.

Fate—or God—had provided a reprieve for her common sense. She could go back home without having embarrassed herself with her momentary sexual weakness. She turned to go. Just as she did, she heard the rattle of the doorknob, along with the swish of the front door opening. Scrunching her eyes shut, she pivoted, and then opened them one at a time. She choked on a strangled gasp.

Sawyer Hayes stood in the open doorway, gloriously naked, except for the towel slung low on his hips. Really low. Mouthwateringly low. She dragged her gaze away, up that corrugated abdomen, past that chiseled chest where stray water droplets dotted the wide expanse of male skin, up to those glittering emeralds that pinned her in her place.

There was no Southern charm in his expression now. Only a palpable expectancy that snapped between them like an electrical current. Without losing eye contact, he leaned one brawny shoulder against the doorjamb. She fought the urge to check out how that towel remained around him in this new position. He had such narrow hips, after all—

“I don’t imagine you’re here to borrow a cup of sugar, are you?”

Her gaze popped up to his face, where humor had replaced that avid anticipation of a moment before. What could she say? That, now that the decision was left in her hands, all she could think of was being with him? Touching him, tasting him, doing unmentionable things more in keeping with a certain Mr. Christian Grey than with what she’d ever done in her rather beige sexual past.

A questioning look crossed his face, and she realized she’d been silent too long. What should she say? Tell him she’d changed her mind? Excuse herself and run home? He wouldn’t follow her. But, she hadn’t changed her mind, that was the problem. Seeing him almost naked only underscored that realization.

Her pulse sped up as she admitted to herself: she wanted to have sex with Sawyer Hayes. She needed to know if that instant spark that came to life whenever they were together would transfer to the bedroom. That maybe, just maybe, he would rock her world when others hadn’t. She wouldn’t question what that meant if he did.

“I do have sugar, Munroe, though you don’t strike me as the type to use that manufactured—”

“Can I come in?” Without waiting for his answer, she pushed past him, brushing against his body while half-hoping that tenacious towel would lose its battle and land on the floor. That would make her decision so much easier.

“It depends on how long you plan on staying,” he drawled, stepping aside and shutting the front door with a decisive click. She moved closer, close enough she could smell the soap he’d washed with, could hear each measured inhale and exhale that he took. She studied his face, had to tilt her head only a little because he was barefoot.

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Cathy Skendrovich has always loved a good story, and spent her formative years scribbling what is now called Fan Fiction. The current heartthrob of the time featured heavily in all her stories. Unfortunately, once she went to college, her writing took the form of term papers, written on typewriters instead of computer keyboards.

Upon graduation, Cathy took a job as an English teacher in a middle school. Along the way, she married her husband of now thirty-three years, had two sons, and moved to southern Orange County, California. She chose to work part-time in the school system there.

Now she has returned to writing. Prisoner of Love is her first published novel, followed closely by The Pirate's Bride. The sequel to The Pirate's Bride, The Pirate Bride’s Holiday Masquerade, came out Oct. 1, 2017. Her next contemporary romantic suspense, entitled Undercover with the Nanny, came out on April 23, 2018.

She likes writing romance because she feels it's lacking in today's technological world. While she enjoys writing contemporary stories, creating romance in bygone times fascinates her. She hopes her ability to write in both genres will be the beginning of a long and satisfying writing career.

Places to find Cathy Skendrovich:


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