Jo Davis is back with a brand new book and that makes me a very happy reader! I fell in love with Jo's characters during her Firefighters of Station Five series and have been lobbying for a story for police officer Shane Ford since the moment he walked onto the page. I'm very happy to say that SWORN TO PROTECT, Jo's new book (out May 7 ) is Shane's story and wow, is it good! Jo recently answered some questions for me about Shane's book and her new Sugarland Blue series. ~PJ
Hi Jo! Welcome back to The Romance Dish! It’s been too long since we’ve seen your smiling face around here. Congratulations on the upcoming release of SWORN TO PROTECT, the first book in your new Sugarland Blue series. Will you please tell our readers what to expect from this book and the new series?
Hi PJ! Yes, it has been much too long since I’ve visited, and I’m thrilled to be back!
The Sugarland Blue series is a spinoff of my Firefighters of Station Five series, and is centered on the Sugarland Police Department. It’s the stories of our brave men in blue, the dangers they face, and the women who love them. Each book is romance laced with plenty of suspense as our heroes fight to put away the bad guys.
It was wonderful to return to Sugarland and catch up with a few of our favorite characters from your Firefighters of Station Five series while also meeting new ones who will feature prominently in the Sugarland Blue series. Will you continue to interweave characters from the two series in future books?
Yes. I love to keep old favorites in view of the readers. Sugarland is a fully rounded community, firemen and police often meeting at calls or off the job, and as such, it would be odd for me not to include them working together.
I appreciated that their inclusion was so organic and not an obvious "Oh look! Here's a previous character update for your reading pleasure!"
Faithful Firefighters of Station Five readers (like me!) have been waiting a long time for Shane Ford’s story (it was well worth the wait!). What one thing would you like our readers to know about Shane?
I’ve been getting requests for years for Shane’s story, and I’m excited to finally bring it to readers! RT Book Reviews calls Shane a “superhero without a cape” and that’s exactly what he is. Shane is the epitome of what a man should be. He’s loyal, loves hard and plays harder. He loves his godson Drew, and Daisy, and will move heaven and earth to keep them safe.
Daisy is a terrific heroine – one of my favorites this year. What would you like readers to understand about Daisy?
Daisy loves kids, and troubled teens in particular. Her job with the Sugarland PD is working as a juvenile officer, helping those kids who are at risk to stay out of trouble. This woman has a heart of gold, but she’s been hurt by Shane in the novella ARMED AND DANGEROUS. When book 1 begins, SWORN TO PROTECT, she’s not willing to let him hurt her again. Shane’s got his work cut out for him to earn her trust.
I’ve never had a close relationship with a police officer but your depiction of them, from the squad room to the pool room to a midnight stake-out is exactly as I imagined it would be. What kind of research did you do for this book?
Not too many people know that my first husband was a police officer. I spent lots of weekends hanging out with him and his cop friends, listening to their stories and learning the lingo. I also spent a lot of time picking things up from him at home, and learned a ton about laws, police procedure, and how their jobs really work. This was long before I was an author, so who knew those life lessons would come in handy one day?
I also have a personal friend, a police detective, who helps me specifically with scenes or problems with my series if I have questions. He’s invaluable, and it’s essential I get things correct. (Hi, Jerry!) Any mistakes I make, though, are my own.
If writing these books puts you on the edge of your seat as much as reading them does for me (I was up half the night finishing SWORN TO PROTECT) then you must be flat worn out by the time you finish. How do you relax when you’re not holed up in your writing cave? Hobbies? Favorite activities?
Selfishly, I’m not sorry I kept you up half the night! LoL! But yes, I’m worn out when I finish a book. To relax, my guilty pleasure is going to get a massage. There’s nothing like getting those tired muscles worked for an hour or so to relieve the tension and help me unwind. I also catch up on my reading, walking, shopping, and lunching with the girlfriends.
Oh, massages! I so need one right about now!
You’ve recently moved into a new home. Congratulations! I’ve recently moved too and, though I’m making progress, I’m still living in a sea of boxes. Any tips on settling in and making a new house a home?
Thanks so much! I’ve enjoyed every second of being in the new house, even unpacking. I’ve loved “nesting”, or making it my own. My tip is start new with everything. Toss out the old junk, right down to stuff like that half-used bottle of shampoo that’s starting to form a crust. (Eww!) I stripped the old appliances in the kitchen and had them replaced because they were damned near as old as me! It’s therapeutic, and so much fun. Next stop is Bed, Bath, and Beyond for household pretties.
We must be on the same wave-length. Bed, Bath and Beyond is on my list of stops for today. Last week was Macy's for new towels and sheets. Got them on sale at a great price but the comfort of brand new sheets and towels is worth three times the price I paid!
What authors do you enjoy reading when you’re not busy writing your own books?
I enjoy Jim Butcher, Stephen King, John Sandford for the more mainstream escape. I also enjoy m/m romances by many different authors.
SWORN TO PROTECT is out on May 7th! Here’s the blurb:
Detective Shane Ford, Sugarland’s favorite cop, has been blindsided by the sudden death of his best friend, NFL star Brad Cooper, and becoming the legal guardian of Brad’s son, Drew—a bitter, angry sixteen-year-old with a dangerous secret. Shane is determined to pry the truth from Drew, but only manages to alienate him—and winds up going head to head with Juvenile Detective Daisy Callahan, whose job is to protect the teen’s best interests.
Shane has always been drawn to Daisy’s beauty and strength, but he’s determined not to allow their intense attraction to interfere with his duty ever again. It’s a vow that will prove difficult to keep, as the realities of Shane and Daisy’s blossoming love and their growing bond with the grieving teen propel Shane headlong into danger for the new family he’s sworn to protect.
After that is HUNTER’S HEART (Alpha Pack #4) writing as J.D. Tyler, coming in September. This is Ryon Hunter’s story, and I’m very excited about this one. It’s a “predator” story, if you will. The most chilling danger to the team is the monster they can’t see coming…
Thanks, Jo! It’s been a pleasure hosting you today. I wish you all the best with your new series. It’s off to a great start with SWORN TO PROTECT. I can’t wait to see what comes next!
Thank you for having me here today! It’s been great to be back!
Do you have a question for our readers today?
Question: Who is your favorite movie or TV cop/detective/FBI agent of all time? What was the name of their character and the show?
Jo is giving a signed copy of SWORN TO PROTECT to one randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on today's blog. (U.S. addresses only please)
Visit Jo's website for more information on this bestselling author as well as the books she writes, both as Jo Davis and as J.D. Tyler. You can also like her Facebook page here and follow her on Twitter here.
SWORN TO PROTECT Excerpt from Chapter 1
Copyright Jo Davis, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Penguin Group, USA
“It’s way too damned quiet around here.”
Several other cops groaned and a couple of them shot Taylor Kane the death glare. Shane Ford just smirked, getting more comfortable with his booted feet propped on his desk and crossed at the ankles.
His cousin, Christian Ford, a recent transplant from the Dallas, Texas PD, wadded up a sheet of paper and launched it at
face. “Thanks a lot for jinxin’ us, dipshit,” he drawled. “Even the dumbest
rookie knows better than to let the Q word
pass his lips.” Taylor
“Hey, there’s a lot of money to be had fencing bikes,” Shane said, crossing his arms over his chest. “And a crime is a crime.”
“I know, but it’s boring. Since Jesse Rose and his bunch got shut down last year, nothing exciting has happened around here,” their friend griped. “I’m about to lose my frickin’ mind.”
Shane suppressed a shudder. Jesse Rose was a homeland terrorist that had planned to blow up their fine city of
Sugarland, , and had damned near succeeded. A
Sugarland Fire Dept. captain by the name of Sean Tanner, along with Shane and
the entire police force, had been instrumental in stopping the bastard just in
time. Tanner had since been promoted to battalion chief, and it was a
well-deserved honor as far as Shane was concerned. Tennessee
Another new hire, Tonio Salvatore, spoke up. “That case Shane and Daisy solved last month was pretty exciting . . .” An uncomfortable silence fell over the room. “What? What’d I say?”
Shane’s good mood did a belly flop and curdled in his stomach. It always did whenever someone mentioned Daisy Callahan’s name and the case that had almost gotten them both killed. Or worse, when he was forced to exchange polite, professional conversation with the stunning blond juvenile officer. Especially when all he wanted to do was bend her over the nearest flat surface and fuck her until she screamed his name.
Yeah, their passionate affair hadn’t been such a great idea before, and that fact hadn’t changed.
Easing his legs off the desk, he studied the other officers’ faces. Most reflected curiosity, the barely disguised desire to pry. So, they didn’t really know, just likely suspected. Chris was the only one who knew, and it seemed he’d kept his promise not to say anything to the others. Their friends were merely attuned to the sudden tension that snapped like a rubber band whenever Shane and Daisy were mentioned in the same sentence, or the two of them were in a room together.
Shane wasn’t about to satisfy their avid curiosity.
“Our lack of excitement means nobody has been murdered,” Shane said dryly, sidestepping the reference to him and Daisy. “Let’s not borrow trouble.”
“Too late for that.” Their captain, Austin Rainey, swiped a trickle of sweat from his rugged face with one hand as he approached. “Goddamn, this heat is already bad enough to poach an egg and it’s not even spring yet.”
Shane studied the man’s grayish pallor.
wasn’t just his supervisor, he was a good friend who’d been through a rough
time in the last couple of years. The man’s bitch of a wife was really putting
him through the ringer lately. Shane feared for his health, as did the men and
women who respected and loved him. Austin
“You okay, Cap?” Shane asked him. “It’s February and it’s not that hot in here. You’re not looking so good.”
“Don’t mention it. Get the lead out,
and the FU are already on their way.” Eden
Shane had to smile a little at that—Eden and the FU, as though they were a rock group. But it was appropriate since
taciturn medical examiner and the Sugarland PD’s forensic investigations unit
sort of went together, like a guitar and strings. Though they were employed by
separate entities, they worked toward the common goal of finding and analyzing
clues that would help the police locate and apprehend the bad guys. Nashville
And then there was the shortening of FIU to FU, which one of the uniformed officers had jokingly said stood for “Fuck U” because the science geeks thought they were smarter than a bunch of cops.
grabbed a set of
keys off his desk and jingled them, looking at Shane. “I’ll drive.” Taylor
As they headed out, Shane fell into step beside him. “Happy now? You got the murder you wanted, and a messy one, too.”
The other man shrugged. “I’m not happy someone bought it, but it happens.”
“You like solving the puzzle. A lot of us do.” That might seem strange or morbid to some, but to them, the need to make the pieces fit, the satisfaction they felt when they were successful, was normal.
“For me, the seemingly random pieces are more like snippets of a story, and aren’t usually random at all,”
said thoughtfully. “The body is the last chapter, and I have to read the story
backwards to find out what led up to it.” Taylor
“Never thought of it like that before, like reading a book in reverse.”
He pondered that as they pushed outside and the humidity hit them, shrouding them like a steaming, wet bed sheet. But that wasn’t the only reason he suddenly felt as though he was suffocating.
Daisy Callahan was striding purposefully up the steps to the precinct, and all the spit dried up in Shane’s mouth at the sight of her. Like the other detectives, himself included, she wore street clothes consisting of dark pants and a casual shirt, a holstered gun and badge at her hip, but there the similarities ended. Blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail, emphasizing an angular face adorned with little makeup, large blue eyes and a wide mouth. The woman was a long, tall drink of water on a scorching day, five feet, ten inches of lean muscle and confident stride that should have made her seem mannish except she was anything but.
Her breasts were full, and he knew from experience how they spilled over a man’s hands, ripe and tasty. He knew how smooth her skin was, how small her waist just above the slight flare and curve of womanly hips. How toned those long thighs were, just how fantastic they looked wrapped around his waist as he—
“Earth to Shane?”
He blinked, becoming aware that he and Taylor had stopped in front of Daisy. Taylor had greeted her and they’d exchanged a few words, and now they were both regarding him with two completely different expressions—
with amusement and Daisy with a polite detachment he’d grown to hate. Taylor
Completely my fault. I’m a first class jerk.
“I’m sorry, what?” He hoped his smile gave no indication of just how desolate he felt inside. Given the unnatural tightness of his face, he suspected he’d failed.
“You guys caught the body out on I-49?” Her look was cool, appraising.
“Word travels fast as always,” he said, striving to keep his tone even. “Yeah, we’re headed out there now.”
She made a face. “You and half the county, no doubt. Good luck, once the news people decipher the dispatch that went out on the scanner. I figure you’ve got an hour, tops, before the real madness hits.”
“Shit, we’d better make tracks.” But he couldn’t get his feet to move. Daisy turned to go, and on impulse, he called after her. “Wait!”
She blinked at him, surprise causing the mask to slip. “What is it?”
“Can I . . . have a word with you?” He sent a pointed look at Taylor, who nodded and walked toward the parking lot. Thankfully without comment.
Once he was out of earshot, his former lover gazed at Shane coolly. “Is there something about the case that you couldn’t say in front of
“Of course not.” He ran a hand through his hair. Never had he felt more awkward around a woman, and it was his own fault. “Dammit, I hate this weird distance between us.”
“Really?” She gave an incredulous laugh. “That’s funny, considering distance is exactly what you wanted. And lots of it. Which I gave you.” Her last words were clipped. Angry.
“We were friends before and I ruined that. You’ll never know how sorry I am,” he said quietly.
The blunt edge of growing hostility disappeared as quickly as it had begun to form, and her face softened. “Me, too. But I guess I can’t blame our failure solely on you. I’m the dumbass who slept with a friend—a fellow cop—and I should’ve damned well known better. So, lesson learned.”
A raw lump formed in his throat and he spoke with difficulty. “I’d like to think we’re still friends. Or can be again.” He waited, but she didn’t let him off the hook. “Want to grab a beer after work sometime? Or coffee? I’m free Sunday—”
“Stop.” Looking away, she regained tight control of the abject misery that had flashed across her beautiful features. “Just stop, okay? I’m not there yet. Maybe I won’t be, either. And if not, that’s a loss we’ll both have to own, and move on.”
Oh, God. The stab to his gut was sharp. Powerful. Had he honestly thought she’d forgive him, and they’d simply go back to the place they had been? Somehow, he mastered the unexpected pain and managed a sad, lopsided smile.
“I suppose we will at that.” He glanced toward where
stood by the car, studying them with undisguised interest. “Better go.” Taylor
“Let me know what you find,” she said, all business again. “I doubt it’ll overlap with any of my cases, but you never know.”
Before Shane could say anything more, she turned and walked into the building without a backward glance. As though they’d never been anything to each other at all.