Monday, October 31, 2016

Virtual Tour - Batten Down the Hatches (Costa Mesa Series, #1) by Roxanne D Howard

Batten Down the Hatches
Costa Mesa Series, #1
by Roxanne D Howard
Release Date: October 25th 2016
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Halloween

From The Book Junkie Reads . . . Batten Down the Hatches (Costa Mesa Series, #1) . . .
Quick, quickie that will give you something to remember about your next Halloween Masked Party. Piper was captivated by the mysterious Captain Jack. This Halloween party will be one she never forgets.  A chance meeting up again with Jacks gives her all that she needs to know that it was not just a fluke. Jack’s dream walks back in to his life. Will he get to keep her this time?

I have only one complaint. It was too short. I wanted more of Piper and Jack. Roxanne has delivered a quick romance that will have you wanting more. I want more of the Costa Mesa Series. I want to know where things go from this point. What other adventures are in story for Costa Mesa and Ahoy, Matey, and even a few of the other characters?

Piper Goldhirsch is the head reporter for Business Buster, an Undercover Boss-esque tabloid exposé show. While it was never her dream job, it pays the bills. When she attends a masked Halloween Ball and has a passionate affair in the billiard room with a sexy costumed pirate captain who calls himself Captain Jack, what starts out as a few kind words and exchanged kisses soon transforms into the greatest sex of her life, and she’s haunted by the powerful magic between them. Piper parts ways with the mysterious stranger, and assumes she’ll never see him again… until he becomes her job’s next target.

Captain Jack Spencer runs his own brand new whale watching company, Ahoy, Matey, on the outskirts of Costa Mesa and Balboa Island. He’s so good at it he’s garnered the attention of rival companies. Piper is called in by Jack’s nemesis to go undercover on an ocean tour to expose him, and reveal his alleged illegal tricks that have made his business so successful in a short amount of time. But when Piper realizes he’s the same sexy man she slept with at the Halloween Ball, she’s emotionally conflicted. Jack is unable to forget the woman from Halloween, and when they do meet up again, they can’t keep their hands off each other. It’s time to Batten Down the Hatches, because the waves are about to get wild!

A knock rattled her dressing-room door. 
“Goldhirsch! Get in the conference room,” Larry Gunn barked. 

Piper removed her crossed ankles from the top of her vanity tabletop and glanced at the door, annoyed. She’d been focused on an article inPsychology Today about the pros and cons of one-night stands. Try as she might, she couldn’t get Captain Jack out of her head. Hell, she could still smell him, a whiff of sheer masculinity and sex. Sometimes, it felt like he held her close, like he was a phantom lover. 
“Why?” she called out. 
“I’ve got one for you.” 
She stood up and took her jacket off the back of her chair. “Last guy said that to me got his nuts kicked in. Couldn’t walk for weeks.” She opened the door. Larry worked his gum like a cow chewing cud and looked bored. 
“Yeah, look at me. I’m petrified. Get in the conference room, kid. This one should be good.” 
“Weeks,” she hissed as she passed him. 
“Yeah, yeah.” 
Whatever it was must be serious. They had Tim Chidester, Business Buster’s private investigator they brought in for the heavier pieces, already seated, and another middle-aged man she didn’t know was also in attendance. She considered the stranger. He wore khaki shorts and a dark-blue polo shirt. She put him at somewhere in his midforties, with a red, receding hairline and thick glasses. 
“Piper Goldhirsch, this is Peter Newman, owner of Newman Whale Watching Tours on Balboa Island.” 
She shook the man’s hand across the table. “Nice to meet you, Peter.” 
“Same here.” 
She took a seat across from him and Tim and crossed her legs. “All right, let’s hear it.” Tim leaned forward and rubbed his hands together with glee, as if someone had handed him the world’s best Christmas present. 
“So, to cut to the chase, Peter here says another tour company is stacking the deck.” 
“That’s not what I said,” Peter snarled. 
Piper leaned back and crossed her arms. “All right, why don’t you tell me what you said, then,” she said neutrally. The guy obviously had a stick up his ass about something. 
“Okay. Well, on Balboa Island, there’s about eight of us whale-watching companies. We all have guidelines and laws we have to abide by, you know?” 
Piper nodded, not sure where he was going. 
“So, our job is to take people out and see as much wildlife in the ocean as we can within the limits of where we go. On a normal day, people will see a pod or two of dolphins, a group of sea lions, and sometimes if the gods smile on us, a whale. Ahoy, Matey is a new company. They started up less than a year ago by this young marine biology flunky.” 
Spittle flew out of Peter’s lips as he talked about the man. Did this come down to some sort of personal vendetta? She steered clear of exposé pieces like that, as they were usually masked cat fights. 
Within eight months, the company went from obscurity on the bottom rung to land the best reviews and the most bookings on the island.” 
Piper frowned. “So, how is it you think he’s corrupt? What if he’s just a good businessman?” 
Peter rubbed his forehead and looked pissed. “Because out there, on the water, it’s not about business politics. It’s how capable you are as a boat captain. They claim they spot whales every single day, on every single outing, which is unheard of. Look, whales, they migrate, okay? You’re lucky to spot one or two a day, on a good day. This guy’s claimed to see blues, minks, and humpbacks, which are an endangered species and rarely come inland. He’s luring them, mark my word. My bet is he’s got buckets of krill he uses—” 
Piper furrowed her eyebrows, confused. “What’s krill? I know next to nothing about marine biology.” 
“Shrimplike plankton.” 
Larry supplied her with the info as Tim slid an 8x10 glossy photo of what looked like cocktail shrimp across the table at her. 
“This is krill. Peter thinks the Ahoy, Matey captain has his first and second mates pour buckets of these guys into the water while the boat’s in motion to attract more whales and up the stakes. The California Whale Watching Guidelines state it’s illegal to interfere, feed, or harass marine mammals. If this guy does, or he has a way to get the whales up close to spotlight his business, he could be sued for animal endangerment, and it goes against countless state and federal laws.” 
“Yes, exactly,” Peter squeaked. “Exactly. Thank you.” 
Piper curled her finger around her chin and contemplated what she’d heard. “Do you have any evidence of this?” 
“No, but I’ve been around. Listen, I’ve been a tour guide on Balboa Island for over fifteen years now. No way is this guy that good. If you go out there and record him like you do on your shows, I bet you’ll get something.” 
Larry put his hand on the table. “Peter, would you step out of the room for a few minutes? We need to discuss this with Piper. There’s an espresso machine down the hall and some pastries, if you want to help yourself.” 
Peter looked between them. “Sure.” 
He stood and leered at Piper. She inwardly cringed as he checked her out. 
“I love your show, Miss Goldhirsch. I’ve seen every episode.” 
“Thank you,” she said thinly. 
When he was gone, she looked at Tim across the table. “I don’t think there’s enough of a story here, and I’m getting weird vibes off this guy. This is complete speculation on his part and what amounts to legal hearsay. Most people at least have texts, videos, an audio recording,something. This guy has no evidence other than an obvious massive chip on his shoulder.” 
Tim held up a finger with a sharklike grin. “I don’t disagree, Piper, but hear me out. I did some digging, and there’s more to the Ahoy, Matey captain than meets the eye.” 
He slid a closed manila folder across the table to her. She opened it, and Larry leaned over her shoulder to peer at it. 
“Do you mind?” she sassed. She often had to assert the upper hand with Larry. Thank God for her take-no-prisoners Jewish backbone. “Or does my personal space mean nothing?” 
Larry put his hands up and backed off. 
“Thank you.” She looked down at a black-and-white photo, a side profile of a very handsome guy in an open-throated denim shirt. He leaned over a metal rail and stared out at the ocean with a soulful look about him. He appeared to be around her age in his midthirties, clean shaven with a strong jawline, straight nose, and short, thick brown hair tousled from the wind. “He’s cute.” 
“That’s Captain Jack,” said Tim. 
Piper’s imagination went into overdrive as memories of last night crashed over her, the way he’d pounded into her and caressed her. She stared hard at the photo. Was it him? The side profile made it hard to tell. “If you start singing ‘The Princess Pat,’ I might have to join in.” Her voice shook as she tried to decipher from the features if it could be him. The crooked, sexy smile did look familiar. Very familiar. Oh, shit.

How would you describe you style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
Regardless of whether you like to read deep and profound or light and funny novels, what you’ll get from my work is an engaging, fully fleshed out plot that you can’t put down.  I write fun and sexy books, as well as dark and deep, but one thing all my books have in common is a great romance with an original, fresh plot. I believe the reader should feel as though they’re living through the eyes and bodies of the characters, so the sex scenes are always hot, and I like to throw delicious twists into all of my plots, and of course, a happily ever after.

What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?
What a great question. You know, as a mother it’s hard to find the time to write. I prefer to write in a quiet environment, whether it’s my home office, or in the kitchen on my laptop when the kids have gone to school. Sometimes I enjoy lighting a candle. But one thing always has to be present; I have to have my head in the game. By this, I mean I need to have the world of the novel concretely mapped out in my brain, and I need to be able to picture the characters as solidly as if you were sitting in the seat next to me. Sometimes I’ll listen to a playlist I’ve done up of the novel I’m working on, or go for a walk and envision scenes.

Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page? Do you people watch to help with development? Or do you build upon your character during story creation?
I’ve been extremely fortunate to have met some amazing and very unique people throughout my life, and most of the time I served in the Army helped me glean tidbits of characters here and there, so when I come up with a plotline, nine times out of ten, the characters walk fully formed into my head. I have to have a firm grasp on who the characters are as people (what do they look like, sound like, wear, eat, etc.) before I begin writing, because I like it to play like a movie in my mind. I do like to cast the characters beforehand. I often think, this person would be perfect as so-and-so. I thought of Idina Menzel for the role of Piper, and Josh Duhamel as Jack for the new Costa Mesa series.

Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so which one(s)?
I really, really loved Piper Goldhirsch from Batten Down the Hatches. I love all my characters; they are all people I’d want to be friends with in person. But Piper stood out of the crowd to me. I loved writing her; she has a sweet soul, and she’s a good person with a lot of panache. I also love her sass.

Do you have a character that you have been working on that you can't wait to put to paper?
I do. I’m busy getting a NA erotic romance novel I’ve written ready for submission, but I’m itching to write a three-part children’s series for my daughters about a ballet student, and I’m going to have some fun with it as soon as some other projects are out of the way.

Have you ever felt that there was something inside of you that you couldn't control? If so what? If no what spurs you to reach for the unexperienced?
This has got to be the coolest interview question I’ve come across. I love the expression unfurl, because with anyone trying to reach a goal or come into their own as authors, we have to let ourselves unfurl. The one thing I’ve never been able to control is my insatiable need to write. It’s always been there, like an invisible force. Its’ a powerful form of expressionism, and whether I was writing in my journal as a teen or creating stories that would later become books, I’ve always felt the need to put ink to parchment, so to speak. One thing I will say about reaching for the unexperienced is, until a few years ago, I’d never written a sex scene in my life. I was afraid to go there. But I broke out of my comfort zone because I felt like I needed to, and that has made all the difference. If there’s something inside you that says, ‘hey, don’t ignore me. Try this, go out and do that. You know you can,’ don’t ignore it due to self-doubt. Believe in yourself, and dare to be different.

Author Info
Roxanne D. Howard is an author with Loose Id. She has two titles published and one series coming out over the holidays. She is a U.S. Army veteran, and has a bachelor's degree in Psychology and English. She loves to read poetry, classical literature, and Stephen King. She is also an avid Star Wars fan, musical theater nut, and loves everything related to marine biology. She resides in the mid-western United States, and is the proud mother of two beautiful girls, several pets, and loves to spend time with her husband and children when she's not writing. Roxanne loves to hear from her readers, and she can be contacted at
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