Hi guys, we have K-Lee Klein popping in today with her upcoming re-release Unbroken Hearts, we have a fantastic guest post where K-Lee chats about hew Unbreak My Heart series, we have a great excerpt and a giveaway! So guys, check out the post and enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Country singer turned rancher Brett Taylor fought his way out of the bottle, so he could have JT Campbell in his life. JT’s patience, intelligence, and humor broke through Brett’s walls of depression, and now the once-isolated rancher and his young California guy in search of himself are together on Brett’s Texas ranch.
While Brett and JT are more in love than ever, they’re still dealing with past baggage and learning how to move forward. Brett’s former lover casts a long shadow over their lives—one JT tries to pretend doesn’t bother him. Can Brett soothe his fears with the sort of sappy, sentimental Valentine’s Day JT was taught to shun growing up—but secretly always wanted?
When Halloween rolls around, a costumed night out at the local bar might lead to another romantic first. And on Christmas morning, JT awakes to some sweet loving and the most meaningful gift he could ever imagine. The New Year truly brings a new beginning—ushered in by some silly, sparkly, and sexy fun.
One year. Four important holidays. Two men who have worked hard for the love and trust they share and the bright future that’s finally within their grasp.
15 things you might not know about the Unbreak My Heart series!
by K-Lee Klein
Hi there and thanks for dropping by the Unbroken Hearts blog tour. I’m doing a little fact-sharing today about my series Unbreak My Heart. I hope you enjoy and make sure you stick around for the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post. Thank you for having me, Pixie!
- The title book in the series was originally published by Amber Quill in 2013. When they went out of business, Dreamspinner picked up the series.
- Unbreak My Heart was originally the only novel in the series. The other 4 stories were novellas and shorts.
- Unbroken Hearts contains not only the original story but also the short Unwrapped Hearts, plus between 25-30,000 words of new material.
- Although it’s a big industry secret, at least from my other characters…Brett Taylor is my favourite character to write. I think it’s because his point of view was so emotional in the first book, and in turn, I had so many feels and tears when I was writing it. Brett is also the character that yaps relentlessly in the corner of my mind.
- The original story was intended to be a one-shot for a submission call. In the end it went way off the rails subject-wise and was about two times longer than the guidelines allowed. Needless to say, it worked out well anyhow.
- My biggest inspiration for Brett Taylor was Christian Kane – looks, mannerisms, vocal inflections, and of course, his country singer roots.
- Brett’s songs are one of the biggest perks of writing this series for me. I’m a closet poet and song-writing fits right into that, whether rhyming or not. It was a little nerve-wracking actually sharing the lyrics but in the end I
- JT gets his turn to shine in Unbroken Hearts. You can’t expect him to be well-adjusted all the time.
- I absolutely adore writing Millie and Ray. They both continue to give Brett a hard time. When he was really struggling, they were the ones who kept him grounded and responsible for his actions, in their own ways.
- In the first book, I wrote both Walt, Brett’s ex-partner, and the old barn to be characters in their own right. They continue to have an impact on both Brett and JT in Unbroken Hearts.
- When I was naming the adorable pup that Brett gave to JT, I had a brain blip. One of my sons said why not call it something stupid like Whiz. And thus, Whizzy was born.
- One of my kids also dared me to kill one of my characters which I’ve never done before. I consider Walt to be that casualty even though he was never alive in the actual Brett/JT universe. That same kid says it’s doesn’t count but it totally does.
- Unbroken Hearts follows Brett & JT through four holiday events – Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, & New Year’s Eve. It was definitely fun to join them on those important dates.
- The idea for Brett’s Halloween costume is a cross between Sebastian Stan’s costume in Once Upon a Time & something Christian’s character wore in Leverage.
- The audiobook for Unbreak My Heart came out this summer and I might have screamed when I got the news. I picked Nick J Russo myself, despite him not being one of the auditions I listened to. I took the chance and I couldn’t have asked for a better fit for my guys.
JT CAMPBELL had loved Brett Taylor every single day of his twenty-eight years of life, or that was certainly how it felt whenever he talked to, touched, or even looked at him. If given the chance, JT would have burrowed beneath Brett’s skin like some all-consuming virus just to make sure they were never parted.
And if that wasn’t the most disgusting but factual description of true love—or, in the least, the musings of a man completely under the spell of a former country singer with more issues than People magazine—he didn’t know what was.
In reality, six and a half months was no more than a drop in the proverbial bucket of relationships. But it was far longer than any other romantic liaison JT had been involved in, and if he had his way, Brett would be the last lover he ever had… period. There simply weren’t enough words to describe how much he loved his cowboy—hook, line, and dirt-covered sinker.
Brett was moody, sensitive, stubborn, caring, annoying, sweet as pie, and so damn beautiful it hurt JT’s heart. But despite the good, the bad, and the shameless sexiness that was Brett Taylor, he always came out on top—well, in a nonliteral sense—even when it came to planning the worst Valentine’s Day dinner ever.
“G’morning, Darlin’,” Brett said, one eye partially cracked open. He smacked a loud kiss to JT’s grateful, grinning lips. “I told Ray and Mama we’d have dinner with them at Bubba’s tonight. I’ve got an old friend struck on dragging his guitar out of storage for a one-night-only performance. I said we’d be there for moral support. That sound okay to you?”
JT breathed a short, confused “What…,” which was quickly interrupted by an excited furball jumping on the bed. Whiz waggled and wiggled, his tail whacking JT in the face while Brett chuckled and encouraged him. “Down, Whizzy,” JT said with as much sternness as he ever managed with the overexcitable pup.
Brett kissed his cheek this time. “I’ll let him out before his bladder bursts.” Then he was gone and JT was alone and feeling empty and disappointed.
It wasn’t so much that he was any kind of hopeless romantic, nor had he necessarily expected a mushy card or a vase filled with fabulous red roses—though that would have been over-the-top sweet and bordering on beautifully sappy—but dinner at Bubba’s was probably the last thing on his hopeful agenda. What he had expected, or, yeah, wanted, was some adult alone time with Brett on the so-called most romantic day of the year. Something private and intimate that didn’t include Brett’s foreman and friend Ray Durant barging in at any given moment just because, or something that involved being horizontal and sweating, at least in the beginning.
HE WANTED to hold hands across a table, have Brett’s icy blues gaze adoringly into his eyes as wine sparkled in fancy glasses, flowers scented the room, and goddamn cupids played tiny harps…. So, yeah, that hopeless romantic thing was a possibility after all.
His Valentine’s gift for Brett wasn’t the most romantic thing in the world either—a book about foals or fillies or some kind of baby horses Brett had been talking about, plus a card JT had painstakingly picked out. The flaming red paper practically oozed blood-soaked love and was by far the mushiest thing he’d ever considered buying.
In fact, the old JT would probably have been nauseated with the gush of sentiments. Love did strange things to people, and JT’s descent into unfathomed attraction, affection, and attachment had made all that was sugary-sweet and gapingly sappy the new normal for him.
Sickly sweet didn’t necessarily mean romantic or sexy, but at least it was something. And it mopped the floor with a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at Bubba’s Pubba—damn, that had to be the most obnoxious, unpunny name—with Brett, Ray, and Millie.
In reality, JT couldn’t think of many things he wanted to do less on February fourteenth, unless it was mucking out the stables while some honky-tonk music blared loud and teeth-grittingly painful from Ray’s portable radio. Yes, that had happened, and, yes, JT had hated it. And, of course, Ray thought his discomfort was a hoot and a holler. Though if JT thought about it a little more, anything involving his own mother would be higher on the list of do not want than Ray’s hootenanny bullshit or Bubba’s Pubba.
So while he showered—stubbornly alone and in a partially self-sabotaging version of punishing Brett—JT sulked. He realized the fact it was Valentine’s Day hadn’t entered their short conversation that morning, so maybe Brett deserved the benefit of the doubt. He did, after all, have romantic tendencies during private moments and certainly on the written page. Reading Brett’s letters to his late partner, Walt, hadn’t been any kind of shining moment for JT, but he’d still felt the love and heartache on the pages. And broken or not, the man who penned such words has the soul of a sentimentalist first and foremost.
Brett always claimed Walt had been the romantic one, but the way he waxed poetic in lyrics and sweet notes proved otherwise. It was really a ridiculous thing to be upset about—a bratty thing. Valentine’s Day was just another day after all. But somewhere along the way, JT had created high expectations for his first time, and it was his first time, at least as far as Valentine relationships went.
Over the years, he’d had an abundance of meaningless sex on the dreaded day of hearts and love, usually in hopes of forgetting he didn’t have an actual date or long-term lover to spend it with. His family had never been one for celebrating February fourteenth either. He’d received no cutesy cards with animals and hearts or anything else Valentine-related from his mother and father. He did have vivid memories of other kids showing him little boxes of chocolates from parents, but that hadn’t been JT’s experience.
His excitement at the first time he’d brought home a Valentine card from a girl in his kindergarten class was still etched in his brain. His mother had scoffed and told him the day stood for nothing but juvenile amusement, and even as a child, JT hadn’t been encouraged to be juvenile. She’d also been unwilling to buy him cards of his own to hand out, so he became the only child in his class not to give Valentines. He remembered the devastation and embarrassment, the ravaged feelings of a kid merely wanting to fit in, like it was only yesterday.
JT didn’t often dwell on his past, but there were days he was more apt to ruminate on his upbringing. He was usually a master at not letting the unhappiness and unfairness of his childhood poison his brain. Hell, even his young adulthood held far more bad memories than good. But this one single day among ten thousand might be the only time his mother had been right. And that was the last thing in the world JT had ever wanted to admit.
Dorothy Campbell had designated Valentine’s Day as simply a commercialized scheme to put money in the pockets of greeting card companies and chocolate distributors. It was all about corny cards and chocolates and flowers, a cornucopia of materialism and feelings JT didn’t need and were totally beneath him. That heart-hurt, disillusioned kid inside JT knew stupid cards, tacky gifts, and non-holiday holidays didn’t prove Brett loved him, and they never would. Nevertheless, disappointment still settled heavy inside adult JT.
“You with me, sweetheart? Not lost somewhere in that pretty head of yours, are you? Need me to send out a search party?”
Just as it always did, JT’s heart warmed at the sound of Brett’s voice, somersaulting like an Olympic gymnast owning the mat, but he forced a disgruntled glare at Brett’s spew of questions. Brett’s confusion was a little clearer when reality set in and JT discovered he was standing in the middle of their bedroom naked and dripping wet. He didn’t remember getting from the bathroom to their room without drying off.
Getting lost inside his head was the only excuse he could come up with because giving his mother any credit for scattering his thoughts was a fate worse than death. He refused to succumb to her bullying twenty years after the fact. Valentine’s Day was the one at fault for shoving him back into that world. And Brett…. JT could definitely blame Brett.
Said blame tilted his head, lips parted, but no words came out for a very long moment as JT stood motionlessly chilled and self-conscious. Brett held up a finger then backed away and disappeared from JT’s sight. He didn’t have time to follow before his cowboy was back.
“Here, sweetheart. You might wanna use this.”
He tucked an arm around JT’s shoulders from behind and suddenly they were nose-to-nose. Brett’s patented lopsided grin shone like the sun as he smoothed a fluffy white towel over JT’s arms. A familiar blush crept into JT’s cheeks as he accepted the offering. Even after months with the man, he still had that effect.
When JT’s fingers brushed Brett’s, a spark of electricity zapped from his hand to his groin—the same current he’d felt the first time Brett touched him. The honeymoon period of their love continued to be passionate and endearing. And even though JT was peeved at his cowboy’s Valentine’s Day etiquette, his body traitorously reacted with an ache he couldn’t control, an itching to touch or kiss.
“JT? Darlin’, you all right?”
JT. Brett never called him that unless he was worried, so JT let the towel slip to his hips then tucked it around his waist. With his obvious and badly timed interest hidden, he leaned down to kiss the soft lips that always brought him to his knees. It wasn’t an invitation for more, just a soft reminder of his love and appreciation, but Brett tugged him in for a hug anyway.
“I’m getting you all wet.”
JT tried to pull away, but Brett held tight, drawing him even closer as he buried his nose in JT’s shower-damp neck.
“You know I’m all right with that.” Brett’s voice was soft, sweet, a tender vibration of words against chilled skin as he dragged his lips over JT’s jaw, trailing wet kisses along the prickly ridge. He left a path of tingles in his wake. “How come you didn’t wait for me in the shower?”
An unwanted lusty groan slithered up JT’s throat, while a more powerful one blazed through his core. He slid his arms around Brett’s waist, locking his hands together and squeezing. “Just wanted to get an early start.” He was tempted to add, in his best sarcastic, Ray-tone, “You have no idea how excited I am for our first Valentine’s Day date with your mama and Ray tonight,” but being chest-to-chest, heart-to-heart, with Brett put all JT’s sass on the backburner and rendered him stupid.
K-lee Klein loves guys with long hair and tattoos, and you’ll often find her front and center at her favorite rock concerts. She has bounced around Western Canada all her life, but will always consider the solitude and beauty of the British Columbian mountains home. Her life is blessed as the proud mother of three now-grown but still spoiled kids, the servant of two bossy felines, and the wife of a truly patient husband.
Her writing muse is terribly temperamental, so to keep him close by and in check, she had him inked on her left calf. The gorgeous, long-haired, mostly naked, kneeling angel that resulted is truly a work of art, although he’s still a handful and hopelessly uncontrollable. She writes on his schedule and inspiration.
K-lee tends to fall easily into obsessions. When something grabs her attention, she jumps into it headfirst with complete abandon. Actors, musicians, superheroes, fictional characters, and brainwashed assassins all hold spots on her cannot-get-enough list. She once followed Thirty Seconds to Mars around the United States and Canada and saw them perform fourteen times that year. Obsession sometimes leads to ideas for her kneeling angel to turn into stories.
Although an introvert in person, she’s extroverted online and has met many wonderful friends there, sometimes with the added fun of meeting them in person at gay romance conferences. She’s grateful for all the people in her life who accept her as she is and support her through her ups and downs as mom, wife, and joyfully obsessed writer.
Places to find K-lee.