Message From The Author

Julie Kenner

Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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Skirts, Smoking Guns & Sex Appeal

Julie Kenner Spices Up the Noir Novel With a Little Romance!

What do you get when you mix light, modern romantic comedy with broody, sensual PI noir? Pure fun, ˆ la Julie Kenner's newest single-title release, NOBODY BUT YOU (Pocket, January). The author, who has created superheroes and talking cats for Love Spell, and sexy singletons for Harlequin Blaze, now tackles the story of David Anderson, a struggling PI whose real love is writing Mickey Spillane-style thrillers, and Jacey Wilder, the sexy dame who drops a case into his lap and steals his heart in the process. "David started knocking at my brain awhile back and I just love him," Kenner says. "I tend to come up with quirky ideas for books, and—knock wood—have yet to be shot down. My editor at Pocket is Lauren McKenna and she's fabulous. She absolutely loved it and got completely behind it from the get-go."

Quirky for romance perhaps, but Kenner's story plays off traditional noir conventions, tweaking the seemingly innocent femme fatale and rumpled-but-charming hero archetypes, to spin a realistically complex relationship. Like the hard-boiled Sam Spade thrillers, this story gets up close and personal with David, exploring his dreams and desires (each chapter's slangy excerpt from his work-in-progress is especially fun), while heroine Jacey is more of a mysterious character.

"When I started the book, I had a stronger sense of David's character than Jacey's," Kenner says. "I knew she was quirky, yet strong—basically a woman of contradictions. But I didn't know how that would manifest. I was really surprised when she revealed herself as a skilled mechanic, for example. That's one of the things I like best about writing—the little revelations that happen along the way."

As the dynamic duo tries to find a man who might have been Jacey's Mr. Right (but whom she mistakenly took for a serial killer!), they embark on a caper that involves missing diamonds, shady thugs, dotty sidekicks (David's girl Friday, his 82-year-old Mel Gibsonloving aunt) and sexual tension.

Kenner's longtime interest and job experiences in film
production and screenwriting came in handy when she was doing research for NOBODY BUT YOU. She boned up on tons of noir classics, like favorites "The Big Sleep" and "Kiss Me Deadly" (the latter adapted from a Spillane novel), as well as romantic comedies like "Romancing the Stone."

For her next Pocket title, she'll draw on that rollicking adventure film, as well as the whole James Bond oeuvre, to
create a madcap romp, THE SPY WHO LOVES ME, featuring David's friend Finn and a sexy double agent named Amber,
to be released in January 2004. She's also penned an erotic romantic suspense Harlequin single title, SILENT CONFESSIONS, for April 2003, APHRODITE'S SECRET for Love Spell for May 2003 and a Harlequin Blaze, SILENT DESIRES, for August 2003. (We're guessing that after all that, this dame will definitely need a "big sleep!")

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Excerpt from NOBODY BUT YOU:

"I need the best," the dame in the doorway said.

She sashayed into my office, her painted-on skirt hugging curves tighter than a Ferrari maneuvering the Swiss Alps. Her hips twitched out a message in Morse Code just for me—a message I considered answering, then thought better of it.

You just never know with dames.

I keep a hard wooden chair across from my desk. Uncomfortable, so as to discourage clients from staying and shooting the breeze. She glided to the chair and sat down. Her short, red skirt rode up her thigh, revealing the black lace top of thigh-high stockings.

I sucked in my breath and cursed buying that damn chair.

"They tell me that's you," she crooned. "The best, I mean." I concentrated on the way her lips moved under blood-red lipstick. "I need you, Mr. Anderson."

Anderson? Who the hell was Anderson? "You got the wrong sap, lady," I said. A damn shame, too. "The name's Monroe. Philip Monroe. Private detective, at your service."

"Mr. Anderson!" The feminine voice filtered through the door, accompanied by the staccato rhythm of someone pounding to get in. "Hello? Is anybody there?"

David Anderson clicked off his microcassette recorder, reality settling around him like a wet, wool blanket. He had no idea who the hell had interrupted him, but if the pounding was any indication, she wasn't going away anytime soon.

"Hang on," he said, swinging his feet off the desk. "I'm coming."

With a groan, he levered himself out of his chair and made his way around the pine kitchen table he'd converted to a desk. He managed to avoid knocking over the stack of boxes filled with classic-rock vinyl and a few old t-shirts, but wasn't so lucky with the novels piled up next to the sofa, and his copies of I, The Jury, Vengeance is Mine and other hard-boiled classics ended up scattered all over the floor.

"Hello?" That voice again, only meeker this time.

"Just a sec," he yelled. Irritated by both the interruption and his own clumsiness, he kicked a copy of My Gun is Quick, sending it sliding over the hardwood floor, coming to rest by the ancient Royal typewriter he periodically tried to fix. A damn fine novel, it didn't deserve such treatment, and he stifled the urge to drop down and rescue it. Time enough for that after he got rid of whoever was at the door. Probably a Jehovah's Witness. Or a Girl Scout. He half-frowned. If that was the case, he'd take a box of Thin Mints before he sent her packing.

"Mr. Anderson! Please. It's raining."

He negotiated the rest of the obstacle course he called his floor until he reached the door. He flung it open, and there she was—a drowned rat of a woman in white Keds, a soggy yellow sundress, and matted red hair.

Not that he'd been expecting the dame from his scene, but this gal
didn't even come close. Unlike the coiffed woman in his head, this girl's chin-length curls looked like they wouldn't coif if her life depended on it. And no too-tight skirt for this gal. Her gauzy dress fell almost to her ankles, revealing nothing more provocative than lacy socks and
white sneakers.

This woman was no femme fatale, but she sure as hell wasn't a Girl Scout, either. Damn disappointing. Especially since she'd pulled him away from what
was developing into a damn good scene. And he hadn't come up with a damn good scene in a long time. He needed a good scene—several, actually—if he ever hoped to sell one of his novels.

The way his writing had been going lately, that fine day promised to
be a cold one in hell.

"Well, damn," he said, leaning against the doorjamb. "So much for cookies."

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