Title: Crossed Hearts (Hearts and Scars #1)
Author Name: K. Vale
Publication Date & Length: April 27, 2015 – 70,000 Words
Kory Vansant doesn’t deserve to be alive.
As time sucks him dry of energy, sapping the final ounces of strength from his congenitally enlarged heart, he’s forced to end his career as Kory Kent, porn star. Staring down death, he questions his life choices and prays for a miracle. For another chance at life, he vows to change who he is at his core.
His prayers are answered. A perfect heart now beats in his chest, but it comes at a heavy price. The donor is an innocent young man cut down far too prematurely.
And Kory’s blemished history is nowhere near an ideal match.
As his debts skyrocket, Kory can’t help but think his resolve to walk the high road is being tested. After he meets the adorable Will Squire at the gravesite they both visit, he’s doubly damned because there’s no way he can keep up his end of the bargain. What happens when a man breaks a deal with a higher power?
Will often prefers the company of the dead to that of the living. Following a bad breakup, he pours himself into his two jobs—funeral director at his uncle’s mortuary and part-time paramedic. He’s drawn ever closer to Kory, as if fate sticks her fickle hand in and pushes them together like two unlikely puzzle pieces. But sometimes history can’t be buried, and maybe divine intervention isn’t always right. Will discovers everyone is imperfect, no matter how pretty the outer package, and opening one’s heart is never easy, but can be oh so worth the pain.
We’ve All Got Issues
Guest post by Kimber Vale
When I first decided to try my hand at contemporary romance, I chose to write rock stars because, to my mind, they were the closest thing to…I don’t know, super people, I guess. People for whom all the normal problems in life don’t matter. Sure, they have other issues, and in writing my rockers and actors, I realized that A) they are still people, and B) I enjoy making my supposed super people suffer just like Joe Shmoe.
My stars ended up not being impervious to the usual shitty hands life deals.
I’ve since branched out, and stopped trying to find contemporary people who are super (although I suppose I could start writing cops and firefighters to feed that need—and they would truly be heroes). I don’t think anyone would argue that porn stars are somehow held above the usual aches and pains of life. If anything, it seems to me they have bonus trials and tribulations related to their profession: fitting in with society, finding a partner who is okay with what they do for a living, filling out a resume if ever they decide to apply for a position outside the porn industry, frequent blood work and potential health scares, etc.
When I decided to make Kory a porn star in my book Crossed Hearts, I knew it would be a sticking point in his future relationships rather than something that made them easier. I love exploring how careers influence who characters are—how those roles may define them, even if they don’t want them to. My character, Will, has a similar issue being a funeral director. He finds most people put off by it, like they can’t understand how anyone would want to do that job, so he must be weird because of it.
I had fun pairing two people with a common job-identity crisis. Of course, their professions are vastly
different, and that common ground does begin to crumble under their feet at a point in the book. No worries, though, they do figure out how to shore it up again. 🙂
Thanks so much for hosting me!
The man scratched the scrub on his chin. “Heart recipient,” he said finally. “I’m Kory—umm…Kory Vansant.” Holding out his hand, he took another step. Will’s fingers were swallowed in warm skin and bone.
“Will Squire.” Again, he couldn’t tear his gaze from the tease of scar tissue jutting from the crotch of Kory’s shirt collar. The urge to reach out and trace a finger over the pink relief of healed tissue was strong. Just like I touched Brandon’s incision. The stark difference between the two—one wound marking the end of a life and the other a salvation—was surreal. Will was nothing but an outsider looking in on a miracle, but somehow he felt he’d come around full circle.
“Want me to get naked so you can see the whole thing?”
Will closed his eyes for a moment and then looked up, his face flaming with a mix of embarrassment and immediate, fierce arousal. “I’m sorry. Totally rude.”
Kory smiled good-naturedly. “No worries. It’s a way to reclaim who I am, or was. Or some crap. I’m not just my medical status, like they keep saying at my support group.”
“No. Of course you’re not.”
He laughed loud and deep, and the warmth in Will’s face drifted down his body. “I’ve adopted it as my little icebreaker whenever people stare,” Kory said.
“Well, ice broken.” Will gulped. Hell, ice melted into a rolling boil.
K. Vale writes erotic romance of all stripes, from hot hetero to mouthwatering manlove. Find her MF work published under Kimber Vale. Come for the sex. Stay for the story. Stalk Kimber on Facebook and Twitter @KimberVale, and check her site for updates, new releases, and freebies at http://www.authorkimbervale.com.