Guest Author & Giveaway: Stephanie Tyler featuring Hard to Hold

Wednesday, December 2

 ***This giveaway has ended, but don't let that stop you from reading the post.  Trust me it's worth it!  Thanks for joining the fun.***

My guest today is a new to me author, but when I saw her new romantic suspense, Hard to Hold on the Writeminded blog it went straight onto my wish list.  I’ve been hooked on romantic suspense since becoming a fan of Lora Leigh’s Tempting Seals and Elite Ops series, unfortunately not all romantic suspense are created equal.  

Over the past year I have been a little disheartened reading this genre because they seemed more like action adventure novels with very little focus on the romance aspect to the story.  Sure, it had the requisite intimate encounters, some of them hot and steamy, but it lacked true intimacy and character development…it was hard to believe that the intense and perilous situations could create a lasting love.  I read the story, but did I finish “knowing” the characters and why they loved each other?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question more often than not is a big fat NO.  Hard to Hold by Stephanie Tyler, however has the perfect blend of suspense, some action, but most importantly for me, it really focused on the characters.  How they became who they are, their weaknesses, their strengths through adversity, who they want to be despite life’s obstacles, and why they are drawn to each other that eventually develops into love.  

Hard to Hold is an amalgamation of three love stories in one expertly  woven together with lies, betrayal, trust, consequences of choices made, sacrifices and ultimately love and salvation.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait for Too Hot to Hold and Hold on TightHard to Hold was a great romantic suspense, and Stephanie’s post about the importance of a backstory is so appropriate, because the backstories in Hard to Hold are vital to this story and all of the relationships between friends, brothers, enemies and lovers that are explored.  So read on and enjoy her post as well as a special exclusive excerpt for Seductive Musings readers…not to mention a giveaway!

Hey Everyone!

Last week saw the release of Hard to Hold, the first book in a back to back trilogy!  Book 2, Too Hot to Hold releases January 5th, 2010 and book 3, Hold on Tight, releases January 26th, 2010.  So January will be a busy month, but it’s great having the books come out so close together.

At the heart of this series is the relationship between the three brothers – Jake, Nick and Chris – they’re Navy SEALs and brothers by adoption, but they’re so tight – been with one another through the fire, so to speak.  And that’s why they each play such an important role in the trilogy – and why they’re each so highlighted in the other’s book.  I couldn’t not do it, because I believe that past is prelude – that your character’s background, and whatever – or whoever – shaped it – shows why they’re the kind of person they are now.

I adore backstory (done well, of course) – reading it and writing it – I want to know about a character’s past because that’s going to affect every single step they take in the present and future.  It’s important to me because I believe it rounds out the characters, and I make sure it plays an important role in all my books.

What about you?  Do you like knowing / visiting a character’s past in flashbacks or however an author shares it with you?  Do you like a little bit of backstory or do you glom on every luscious bit of detail, the way I do?

I’m giving away 2 copies of Hard to Hold – all you have to do is comment between now and midnight tonight, when the contest closes.  Winner will be announced in the morning, but I’ll only take entries through midnight.

Maximum danger.

Maximum desire.
And holding on for dear life…

The Special Ops hero feared nothing
-until he met a woman too hot to hold…

Lt. Jake Hansen has survived some of the riskiest missions known to man. But now the wounded Navy SEAL faces his toughest job yet: Smuggling Dr. Isabelle Markham out of Africa without triggering an international incident. Not easy to do when the gorgeous hostage happens to be a senator’s daughter —and about as easy to resist as an oasis in the desert…

If it weren’t for Jake, Isabelle would still be halfway across the world, where rebel forces left her for dead. The Special Ops warrior may have saved her life, but she doesn’t need him to protect her now. Tell that to the ruggedly handsome hunk in full battle fatigues who’s just been assigned Isabelle’s personal bodyguard. Close quarters aside, Isabelle won’t let Jake anywhere near her heart — until danger throws them together again…and nothing in the jungles of wildest Africa could prepare them for a passion this wild. This crazy. This hot...

***Bonus Excerpt***

Super special excerpt from Hard to Hold that hasn’t been posted anywhere else, where Isabelle learns some backstory on Jake.  But is it true or not?

From Chapter Two

In the meantime, Isabelle was ringing in the first week of the New Year with a never-ending parade of Marines on a training mission. Except they seemed to be doing less training and more hurting themselves than anything. She was on call nearly twenty-four seven, reminding her of her residency—without the support staff.

“Think I’ll be all right for BUD/S training next month, Doc?” A Marine named Al, who seemed much too young to see any kind of combat, looked up at her expectantly. Shrapnel had caught him across the forehead, and the gash had bled like crazy.

“You’ve got to tell me what BUD/S is first,” she said.

“BUD/S is the first part of training for SEALs,” Al explained. “It’s supposed to be the hardest thing a man can do.”
She doubted Jake would say that it was the hardest— not by a long shot—but she just nodded. “It sounds in- tense.”
“Yeah—the first weeks are the worst, especially the part they call Hell Week. Once you pass that, you’re secure, but there’s still a lot more that goes into being a SEAL.”

“And that’s what you want to do?” she asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” Al said, so earnestly she stifled a laugh.

“You should be ready,” she said. “And I can make sure this doesn’t scar.”

“S’okay if you can’t. Scars are fierce.”

“Scars aren’t going to get you through BUD/S. You met any SEALs yet, Doc?” a Marine named Luke asked her. He’d already been in twice today. “There’s a group of them around this month. Just got back from a trip—they’re always good for morale.”

“I’ve met a few,” she said. It had been twenty-four hours since she’d walked out of Jake’s office, and she’d been too busy to think much about their interaction.

Today, she’d worn blue scrubs, her ID badge tied to a black string that hung around her neck and kept getting in the way. She’d pulled her hair back in a loose knot and she’d forgone makeup, but that didn’t seem to matter because she’d been asked out about fifteen times. Obviously, none of the Marines had a problem dating doctors.

“You know they learn how to kill eighteen different ways with just their bare hands? Imagine what they can do with a weapon.” Luke was talking to Al now, revving the young man up with what Isabelle believed to be a cross between bullshit and fact, with the truth lying someplace in between. “Man, some of those guys are just legendary.”

“You know anything about that guy Jake Hansen I keep hearing about?” Al asked.

“Jake? He’s crazy. You’ll probably never meet him, Doc,” Luke told her. “He hates doctors. Usually gets one of the other guys to stitch him up or does it himself.”

“Interesting,” she murmured.

“See that file box? They say that entire thing is his.”

Luke pointed to a scarred, khaki-colored, four drawer cabinet wedged into the corner of the infirmary.

Isabelle had tried to open it earlier, but none of the keys the old doc had left behind fit the lock. “It sounds like you might need to fill me in, then—you know, in case he ever shows.”
That was all she needed to say before the fish stories began, each man trying to outdo the other with what they knew about Jake.

“They say that Jake went straight to BUD/S from boot camp. That never happens. I hear he joined the Navy when he was fifteen—best fake ID they’d ever seen, so they let him stay,” Al piped up.
“He’s got to be the youngest guy to ever make the SEALs,” Luke said. “His BUD/S instructor was thrown out of the Navy for excessive torture during a SERE training session. Supposedly, he almost beat Jake to death, but he survived. Top in his class.”
“SEALs are overrated. I could take him,” a Marine named Zeke on the periphery of the conversation, with a bandage around his head, called out, and that made Isabelle laugh out loud.

“Supposedly, he’s got this really sick tat of an eagle on the back of his skull. Had to go all the way to Belize to get it.”
“Sweet,” Al said, rubbed the back of his own head.

“Hands down and stay still,” she said and he complied immediately. It felt good to have that command back in her tone.
“He never sleeps. Ever. And, after one trip, he lost over half the blood in his body. He comes back to base and he’s on his feet after a few transfusions. For the rest of the week, he dragged around an IV pole and kept a Hep-Lock in his arm but he finished all his drills and made quals. The old doc didn’t appreciate that much,” Luke said.

Isabelle had to fight to keep from rolling her eyes.

“He sounds like a friggin’ machine. The man of steel,” Al said.

“I hear he’s got to have it like three, four times a day. Sleeps with three women at once just to satisfy him,” Luke said, and that was information she could’ve gone without knowing. She shot him a look but he just shrugged.

“He’s definitely not the type to settle down and be domesticated,” one of the nurses, who’d come in to grab some antiseptic, agreed with an edge to her voice that made Isabelle bristle inwardly and wonder if that nurse had tried and failed herself.

Isabelle didn’t have any desire to tame Jake Hansen. No, she wanted him wild as anything. She was sure that she was the woman who could handle him. She just wondered if he’d be able to reciprocate, and figured that now was as good a time as any to find out if he was strong enough for her.

And then Zeke addressed his next comment right to her. “I’ve come to realize that most men who need this much hype never live up to it.”

She had a strong feeling that didn’t apply to Jake, but she didn’t tell Zeke that. Instead, she eyed the old file cabinet and made a mental note to requisition a blowtorch and a pickax ASAP.

My many special thanks to Stephanie for being my guest today.  I can't wait to read Too Hot to Hold next month.  

In the meantime you should definitely check out her website to get the full book experience for Hard to Hold.  She's got book club questions,  character lists, a military glossary, maps, and music that inspired the book like the ones in the widget to the right, with blurbs and excerpts for the two other books in the seriesIt's a virtual  treasure trove of booklover goodness. In addition you can also find her blog on this site, as well as ways to contact her via Twitter and Myspace to show her some love.

If you didn't already know this fun fact, Stephanie Tyler also co-writes under the pseudonym Sydney Croft with Larissa Ione.  You can find out more about these books here, and at  I'm definitely going to check out these books while waiting on the next book in this trilogy.

Are you interested in winning a signed copy of Hard to Hold?  Stephanie has graciously agreed to giveaway  the first book in the new trilogy, and all you have to do is leave her a comment.  Here's how you can comment to win, but keep in mind you only have until midnight tonight!

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory: Leave a comment (good for 1 entry) 
  • Become a follower of Seductive Musings, and/or mention that you are already a follower in your comment (good for 5 entries)
  • Blog about this contest on your blog and leave a link with your comment (good for 15 entries)
  • If you don't have a blog, don't worry you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they leave a comment on this post and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) 
  • Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment
Rules and disclaimers: 
  • This contest is open to anyone
  • The contest will end on December 3rd at 12:00 am EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner will be selected using
  • The winner will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice 
Good Luck!!!

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*I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small (and I mean very small) referral fee for purchases made using a link on this blog. I don't use Amazon to earn money, I use it because the widgets are cool, easy to use, and serve my purposes to showcase books & such with minimal effort, but most importantly they have great prices and offer both new and used items. As a book addict I love that I can find just about anything I want in one place. If you are going to purchase a featured book anyway, and you know you won't pay more by using the links on this blog than you would by visiting Amazon on your own, I will be eternally grateful for supporting this blog by using the links :)


RachieG December 2, 2009 at 12:57 AM  

Throwing my hat in the ring. I've read Stephanie's books with Larissa's this summer actually and enjoyed them. Very different than a lot of the fiction that is out there and I really enjoyed them. The characters were awesome :)

+5 I am a subscriber

rachie2004 @ yahoo (d0t) com

Eva S December 2, 2009 at 1:56 AM  

I love romantic suspense with lots of romance and this book sounds like one for me! I'll look for these Sydney Croft books too!

+5 I am a follower

eva.silkka at

scottsgal December 2, 2009 at 8:20 AM  

I'd love to read this - sounds like my style of book. I like knowing about a little backstory to help develop and understand the character

+5 also a follower

msboatgal at

caliblonde637 December 2, 2009 at 8:53 AM  

I want to read the book but my local Borders is out :(

+5 subscriber :)

angela_h71,  December 2, 2009 at 8:59 AM  

Ooooohhh I can't wait to read this, thanks so much for the introduction. I have to find the first so I can get the backup

I am a follower too +5

angela_h71 at hotmail dot com

Mary G December 2, 2009 at 9:09 AM  

Hi Stephanie
Can't wait to read your books. I love romantic suspense. RT magazine gave your next book a 4 stars HOT rating as well. My book stores still don't have Hard To Hold in stock but I'm checking every day. Best wishes.

I'm a follower. Love this blog.

Cynthia N,  December 2, 2009 at 10:19 AM  

This is an awesome book - I devoured it in two days! The characters and story line are well developed and, surprise, there is more than one love story. And what about Bobby (aka Clutch)? I am on pins and needles just waiting for the next two. Yum, Nick is next.

Am now a follower. Why it took me so long........*bangingheadondesk*

Bethie December 2, 2009 at 10:26 AM  

Please count me in. I love romantic suspense novels.

+5 I am a follower.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Virginia C December 2, 2009 at 10:35 AM  

+1 Hi, Stephanie! Thank you for writing such a terrific new romantic suspense series. It's great that the books are being released in quick succession! Your website is also a lot of fun!

+5 Already a follower.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Tamsyn December 2, 2009 at 10:37 AM  

Thanks for the intro to your books. Love the cover (yummy) and love the excerpt. As this is a trilogy, I would prefer to have the backstory - its fun to read about the interaction of the characters you've read before, like visiting old friends.
I've just joined your mailing list.


Kara December 2, 2009 at 10:58 AM  

What a fantastic giveaway...I love all your books and look forward to reading this one.

Follower: +5
Blogged about it: +15

Here is my post:

ktulanko AT aol DOT com

Maureen December 2, 2009 at 11:02 AM  

I think it must be very hard to write romantic suspense because you want to incorporate both parts in a way that's beleivable. I do enjoy finding out about the characters and what makes them tick. I like to learn about them slowly and not be bombarded with information and I also like to figure things out for myself, not have the author lecture me about the characters' good points.

I am a follower and have signed up for e-mails.

mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Mitzi H. December 2, 2009 at 12:28 PM  

I also love this genre when there is romance and a good story, but many times there is more suspense than romance. And I also love Lora's books. Thanks for the rec and the contest. Looking forward to reading it!!!

+5 I'm an already follower on google friends and google reader.

mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

tetewa December 2, 2009 at 12:32 PM  

I've been hearing alot about this one! I enjoy reading about characters back stories, it gives you more insight on the character!

jeanette8042 December 2, 2009 at 1:25 PM  

The book sounds and looks fabulous!

I'm a follower!

pam hager,  December 2, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

I would love to read this book. It sounds very intersting.I have read books by Sydney Croft & love Lora leigh.

I am a subscriber

Stephanie Tyler December 2, 2009 at 2:25 PM  


Great to see so many people interested in HTH! This was such a fun book - and series - to write - I'm going to miss these guys a lot, but now I get to hand them over to you.

Cynthia N - thanks for letting me know you enjoyed :)

Armenia December 2, 2009 at 3:03 PM  

+1 I am always pleasantly surprised on how much more satisfying a novel becomes to me because of the backstory. Just knowing the background and details of the past helps me know the characters, fills in the gap, and helps me understand motivation behind their behaviors. Certainly, it helps build another level of understanding as to how the heroine and hero bond with each other.

Stephanie, congratulations on HARD TO HOLD. I am so looking forward to reading it. I got hooked on the ACRO series through your pen Sydney Croft.

+5 already a follower

+125 Amazon book purchase thru Seductive Musings-- emailed to you.

armiefox at yahoo dot com

dor,  December 2, 2009 at 3:10 PM  

Thanks , please enter me....1
Already a follower..........5

dorcontest at gmail dot com

CrystalGB December 2, 2009 at 3:54 PM  

Hard To Hold sounds great. I love the cover.

I am a follower.


Estella December 2, 2009 at 3:55 PM  

I love getting to know a character thru backstory.

I am a follower.

Jessica December 2, 2009 at 4:27 PM  

Always looking for new authors to try count me in please.

+ 5 I'm a follower


Cathy M December 2, 2009 at 4:53 PM  

I love a great series, especially when the characters from preceeding stories pop in on later books. I don't need tons of backstory, but I like some background so I can get the why and who of a character.

already a follower


joder December 2, 2009 at 4:59 PM  

+1 Sounds like a great series! And I love not having to wait too long until the next installment since I have absolutely no patience whatsoever.

+5 I'm a follower

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Jane December 2, 2009 at 5:53 PM  

Congrats on the new release, Stephanie. I like a detailed backstory.

I'm a follower.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com

chey December 2, 2009 at 7:27 PM  

Hard to hold sounds like a great book! I can't wait to read it!

+5 I'm a follower

chey127 at hotmail dot com

mariska December 2, 2009 at 7:53 PM  

i'm an international Reader, i hope i get the chance to read this book ! i've been eye-in this book.

+ 5 i'm a follower

uniquas at ymail dot com

Pamk December 2, 2009 at 10:29 PM  

sounds like a great story. I've not had the pleasure of reading her yet but would love to.
I am a follower
scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

Lori T December 2, 2009 at 10:39 PM  

I would love to be entered. I am a HUGE fan of Stephanie's Sydney Croft books.

latomli (at) yahoo (dot) com

Sue A. December 2, 2009 at 11:09 PM  

Count me in too! Sounds like great reads!

I'm already a follower

Alternate e-mail:
magenta 2 red [at] gmail [dot] com
remove all spaces

donnas December 2, 2009 at 11:13 PM  

Congrats on the release it sounds great. And I love how they are coming out back to back. No waiting!!

I like getting a characters backstory, however the author wants to give it. It makes it feel like you know them better and you get more invested in why they are who they are.

I am already a follower.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Anita Yancey December 3, 2009 at 8:21 AM  

I haven't read any of her books, but I would love to read this one. I am a big fan of romantic suspense. Please enter me. Thanks!

I am a follower!


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