by Piper J. Drake
An aloof bodyguard and mercenary puts his heart on the line in HIDDEN IMPACT, the first book in the Safeguard series by Piper J. Drake. Fans of Marie Force’s Fatal series or Laura Kaye’s Hard As It Gets, will love this brand new romantic suspense series.
He’s not the hero she’s looking for…
As part of the elite Centurion Corporation team, military-veteran-turned-mercenary Gabriel Diaz is a natural defender. He’ll do anything to ensure a mission is successful. Anything but get emotionally invested—he learned the hard way that can be deadly. Easy bodyguard jobs in between the more challenging missions are all he’s interested in now.
Maylin Cheng is desperate and running out of time. Her younger sister has gone missing but no one seems to take her concern seriously. Her last hope lies in asking an aloof bodyguard for help. He dismisses her outright, but all that changes when she is almost killed in a not-so-accidental hit-and-run right before his eyes.
As Maylin leans on Gabriel, she begins to rely on him for more than just her safety. But as their attraction grows, so does the danger surrounding them. When the elaborate web they’re trapped in unravels, Gabriel will do anything to protect them. Even if that means putting his heart in the crosshairs.
Book one of the Safeguard series
“What you need to do is hear me out.” Steel edged her voice now, and maybe a bit of desperation.
It was the former, not the latter, that made him take a real look at her.
Her eyes caught him first. Deep emerald green. Shocking, actually, set in a delicate Asian face framed by a cascade of hair so black the lighting caught blue highlights. Her features were naturally beautiful, accented with a minimal amount of makeup. Very different from the majority of the people in attendance, regardless of gender.
Color leached from her face as she must have realized she had his full attention. But she didn’t back away or break eye contact. Good for her. Lesser men had balked when Gabe had stared them down.
“My little sister is missing.” The edge was gone from her words but the desperation was still there.
Anger washed away. Damn. “I’m sorry, miss. But the police are the people to contact.”
Political targets, reporters and prisoners of war were the kidnap victims private military might be contracted to locate and retrieve. The kind of people held for ransom in places so far off the radar, even sunlight might not find them. And those weren’t his team’s specialty.
The woman in front of him was a normal civilian. Willowy, slender. The thought of a little sister conjured up images of some tiny waiflike kid. He and his partners were heavy hitters, not the kind of people you sent in to do anything but cause strategic destruction. They went into hot spots overseas and did the things politicians didn’t admit to knowing about at these glitzy events, things a US uniform wouldn’t be doing. Delicate, gentle—the sort of handling a traumatized girl retrieved from a kidnapping situation would need—was not their forte.
The older sister shook her head. “I’ve spoken to the police and the US Embassy. No one will do anything, not yet. And by the time they believe something’s actually wrong, I might never find her.”
Missing persons cases were tough. She was right about the time crunch. There was only a short window before the abducted was more than likely dead. Considering what could have already happened, death might not be the worst thing either.
Definitely not going to add to what this woman was already imagining. Hopefully she didn’t know what could happen.
“You’d do better hiring a private investigator.” He drew his eyebrows together, tried not to let the urge to squirm under her very direct stare show. Damn. Give him vapid groupies and a clueless entourage and he had no problem staring them down. This woman, it was like she could see straight through him and know how much he didn’t want to cause a scene at this very moment. There was nothing good he could do for her.
Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) began her writing career as “PJ Schnyder” writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk. She has recently received the FF&P PRISM award for her work as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.
Now, PJ is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense, incorporating her interests in mixed martial arts and the military into her writing.
Thanks for joining the blog today, Piper, Hidden Impact is my kind of book 🙂
Happy to be here, Jacquie. I’m always happy to answer questions for my readers, is there anything you’d like to know?
Well, now that you mention it: (rubs hands in glee)
What do you think is the best way to publish these days?
I don’t think there’s a *best* way to publish, personally. I think there’s what’s best for each author, based on their personal goals.
Because I have a day job I love and don’t plan to leave even as my writing career develops, I’ve chosen to work with a combination of traditional and digital first imprints. My publishers handle the production effort and coordinate with me for marketing. This fits my needs best at this time.
I am also an indie or self-published author under my alter-identity, PJ Schnyder.
I definitely like taking the hybrid author approach to developing my writing career.
What are your favorite genres to read?
I enjoy reading a fairly broad spectrum of genres. Science fiction and fantasy are my first loves. I was introduced to fantasy romance and historical romance after college. In the last five years or so, I’ve come to really enjoy contemporary romance and romantic suspense. I also read a healthy dose of urban fantasy and some literary fiction.
One quirk I have is that I don’t read the genre I’m currently writing, so if I’m working on a romantic suspense project, I’ll read steampunk or historical romance or something other than what I’m writing.
Do your characters talk to you?
Not directly to me, no. I will imagine complete dialog in my head though and scramble to get it down on paper before I lose it.
How do you approach starting a new book?
Every book starts a bit differently, actually. For some books, I’ve been very organized with a complete outline of my plot and character sheets created for my main characters. I’ve started other books by diving into writing a scene right out the gate. And still other books have begun as loose mind maps or outlines in which I’ve filled in the detail as I begin to write actual scenes.
What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?
I’ve read quite a few. I think my two go-to writing books to date are:
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder and The Kick Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig
What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?
I study mixed martial arts when possible in between travel. If I’m not actively training with an MMA school, then I’m practicing drills with my boyfriend to keep up my skills.
I also enjoy knitting, crocheting, and spinning yarn. This goes well with watching Asian dramas (J-dramas, K-dramas, China/Taiwan dramas) and YouTube vlogs. I have a crazy addiction to make up and experimenting with new looks, though the changes are fairly subtle as make up goes.
Chocolate or chips?
It depends? That’s the classic regulatory response in my day job line of work. But seriously, sometimes I need the salty crispy snack and sometimes only chocolate will save the world from me.
If you could have a superpower what would it be? Why?
To make the people around me happy at will. Why? Because I somehow feel guilty or as if I’ve failed if the people around me are not happy.
The nerd in me has a need to assign a name to the super power, so we’ll say it’s Empathy.
Play Find the Piper around the Internet for insight into her frequent travels and inspirations for her stories.