Sunday, October 19, 2014

Heart of the Matter by LaQuette: Review, Interview, & More!

Heart of the Matter
(Queens of Kings, Book 1)
by LaQuette

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heart “Mac” MacKenzie is a tough police lieutenant in the NYPD servicing the rough streets of Brooklyn, New York. She’s a strong leader who doesn’t mind getting in the trenches with the men and women she leads at the seventy-fourth precinct. Her house, her people, and her family—both blue and blood—are the only things that matter. She would live and die for the blue wall that shields her from a traumatic past.

When her captain assigns her a high-profile kidnapping case that she doesn’t want, and insists she allows the missing girl’s irritatingly sexy uncle to tag along during the investigation, her blood boils. Mac has no choice but to do what she always does when things get out of control, lay down the law—her law.

Kenneth Searlington is a rich playboy from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. With stunning looks and an unlimited source of wealth, he’s used to being the center of everyone’s attention, especially the women that he comes in contact with in high society. His life is fun and carefree until his niece, Merridith is kidnapped, and he’s forced to seek out the help of his godfather an NYPD police captain, David Porter.

Afraid and frustrated, Kenneth defers to his uncle’s expertise and his promise that he’s putting his best cop on the case, Lieutenant MacKenzie. When Kenneth discovers “Mac” is actually a sexy as sin lady cop with a fiery temper to match, he decides mixing a little business with pleasure might be just the thing he needs to distract him from long-standing family issues that are trying to crawl their way back into the forefront of his life.

Each used to having their own way, can these two work together long enough to bring an innocent child home? Or will they settle their differences and unyielding attraction in a more carnal way and get right down to the heart of the matter?
I'm so excited to be welcoming LaQuette to my blog today! She's here to talk about her new release, but we also spent some time dishing on a few other yummy topics. 
Carly: Heart of the Matter has a completely different setting than your first book, My Beginning. What can you tell readers about the experiences you had while researching for Heart of the Matter? 
LaQuette: I wanted Heart to be as authentic as possible with respect to her being a police officer.  I had the opportunity to interview the real-life Big Willie, a retired NYPD officer who was able to shed a great deal of light on the psychology of being a cop in NYPD. 
It was fun, but often times it was scary to realize how dark someone's life can become when it's their job to constantly be surrounded by the ugliest parts of the human soul. 
Carly: As a nurse and an EMT I can totally relate; we often come into contact with people on the worst days of their lives. 
I noticed that forgiveness seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout the story. Was it a message you deliberately focused on or did it occur naturally as you were writing? 
LaQuette: I don't know that I consciously thought to include forgiveness as this huge recurring theme.  I just felt, as someone that once lived in the community that Lt. Heart MacKenzie serves, it can be too easy for the police to write the lost youth off as bad or useless. 
Statistics have shown that the legal system does not rehabilitate. It reinforces the characteristics that send young people to prison in the first place. I wanted Heart to be a cop that would seek to first help the community as well as protecting it.  In order to do that forgiveness has to play a huge part in her world. 
Carly: Heart's generosity and commitment to the youth in her community are inspiring. You did a great job! If you had your choice, what would be the one lesson you would like readers to take away from this story? 
LaQuette: Never judge a book by it's cover. Both main characters are introduced to us in one light, but over the course of the book they peel back their layers and we get to see very different sides of them. 
I like the diversity that Heart and Kenneth share collectively and individually. I purposely fashioned them that way so that they wouldn't fit well into their traditional roles.  
Carly: The diversity, not only between Heart and Kenneth, but with all the characters, was one of my favorite aspects of this story. It was so true to life and made the book feel incredibly genuine. 
I must confess, your books always make me hungry… I love all the dishes you describe. What is your go-to comfort food? 

LaQuette: Food is a very significant part of an individual's culture. That holds true for the African - American culture as well. Food brings us together, comforts us, so whenever I write characters that have so much going on emotionally,  I have to include the food aspect as well.  I also include food because those cultural meals bring a unique realism to the setting and the characters. 
My favorite comfort food would be my sister's baked macaroni and cheese my mother's banana pudding, and my late grandmother's sweet potato pie. Grandma used to put her foot in it, as that old southern saying goes. LOL! Dang it Carly, now I've gone and made myself hungry too. 
And just so you know,  I can actually cook all of the dishes I mention in my books. So if you ever decide to visit New York, let me know and I'll have you over for a southern style dinner. 
Carly: That is so true! My husband comes from a Norwegian background and loves to eat lutefisk, but the smell alone is enough to kill my appetite. My great-grandparents immigrated from Germany and I grew up eating a lot of cabbage and sauerkraut. My husband and I had been dating about a year when he told me; "Honey, you know I love your cooking, but it would be okay with me if we ate just a little bit less sauerkraut." Being the stubborn woman that I am, I converted him to my point of view and now he grows cabbage in our garden to make his own every year! 
As for the offer to cook for me... just you wait, I'm going to take you up on that  one of these days! =) I'd also love to return the favor and cook my grandmother's cabbage meatballs for you. 
Now that you’ve written Genesis and Heart’s stories, which of the characters will you be writing about next? 
LaQuette: It was actually my intention to begin True's story next, but True is being very difficult. She's only giving me glimpses of her story, so I don't have enough information to really tell her story the way I'd like to. 
Due to the fact that True won't behave, the next story is a toss up between Faith's and A.J. Tenetti.

Kenneth watched Heart climb the stairs two at a time. She went into what had now become their bedroom and headed straight for the walk-in closet. He heard the keypad beeps from the gun safe as she dialed in the combination code. 
He felt a slight sense of relief. Heart was silent-angry. That was never a good thing. At least if she was this mad and her weapons were locked away, he stood a chance of surviving to see the next day. 
She re-entered the bedroom and walked directly past him. He heard her quick footsteps run down the stairs. He followed, saw her head for the basement door, and disappear into the lower level of the house. 
He walked downstairs to find her standing in the middle of the gym with her arms crossed against the expanse of her heaving chest. 
“Baby, I…” She put up her hand and stopped his words. She turned toward the stereo, turned it on, and fiddled with the dials until he heard Maxwell’s “Bad Habit” pouring from the speakers. 
It was late and she had the sound turned up on damn. Fortunately for their neighbors, the basement was soundproofed. When the house was built, the original owner had wanted a place in the house where he could make as much noise as he wanted without disturbing the neighbors. By the looks of it, Heart planned to benefit from that fact. He wasn’t quite sure if he was going to benefit from it or not yet. 
“What’s with the music being so loud?” He yelled over the driving base. 
“I want to make sure that the neighbors don’t hear you scream,” she said, face straight, muscles tightening in her arms as she squeezed her hands into tight fists.” 
“Shit,” was all he could say. He knew he was in trouble now. 
She rushed him…that was the only way to explain how she was standing across from him one moment, and sitting on top of him the next. In a matter of seconds he was on the floor; face up, with her sitting on top of him. 
“Heart, this is not funny. Get up so we can talk.” 
She didn’t move, didn’t even make a sound. She just looked at him, through him with sharp brown eyes cutting into his soul. His hands had somehow ended up near his head when he fell. He went to pull them down and felt resistance. He tried to move them again and heard a metal clinking sound above his head. He moved his head around until he could see the shiny glint of handcuffs. She’d cuffed him to the weight machine they’d landed in front of when she’d taken him to the floor. This was the very same weight machine that was bolted to the floor and immovable. 
“Heart, this isn’t funny. What are you doing? Why did you cuff me?” 
Her face was still tight with anger, her body stiff and poised for attack. 
“Kenneth, do you know that I hate watching you get dressed. I hate it because I hate that anything else in this world gets to touch your beautiful alabaster skin as closely as I do. I want to be the only thing draped over you so intimately. Not the fine garments you wear, and certainly not that bitch, Faith.” 
He watched her pull something from her back pocket. At first it looked like a heavy handle, but with a flick of her wrist, it became a knife. 
She ran the dull side of the knife across his lips and said, “Ssssh.” 
He swallowed carefully as he watched her remove the knife from his lips and slice the sharp side down the length of his shirt, causing the two sides to peel away from his body like water. 
She continued the slide of the blade through his pants until he was lying beneath her naked and at her mercy. 
“I’m an only child, Kenneth. I never really learned how to share. I’ll be damned if I’m going to share you. So hear me now. If you want that bitch, be with that bitch, and leave me the fuck alone. But if here is where you want to be, keep that bitch, and any other out of your face. I. Don’t. Play. That. Shit.” 
He nodded his head quickly. He knew he hadn’t perpetrated that kiss with Faith, but him lying naked beneath her while she had a sharp blade dancing between her fingers didn’t seem the most appropriate time to point out whose fault this entire fallout was. 
She brought down the hand holding the knife with a hard and fast stabbing motion. He flinched, anticipating pain, but realized soon that there was no pain. She hadn’t stabbed him. He turned his head slightly to the side and saw the shiny blade next to him, sticking out of the floor. 
Heart grabbed him by his chin and allowed one word to slip through her tightly ground jaw, “Mine!” 
She slammed her mouth down on his and kissed him hard, sharp teeth biting into his flesh. His skin rent and he tasted the bitter metallic tang of blood. He should have been pissed, he really should have felt afraid, after all, this woman had rendered him helpless and brandished a weapon in front of him. He was shaking, his heart was pounding, and his breath was coming out in rapid tufts of air from his heaving chest. But surprisingly, there was no fear only…interest. 
His dick jumped beneath her. He was handcuffed with a knife sticking out of the floor next to his head and he was so turned on his dick could cut granite. 
What the fuck is wrong with me?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heart “Mac” MacKenzie is one of the most dynamic and complex characters I've ever read. She has suffered unimaginable trauma but rather than feel sorry for herself she focuses her energy on helping others and giving back to her community.

When Kenneth Searlington first meets Mac he isn't sure how to handle his conflicting responses to the intensely focused woman in front of him.
When a life threatening event strips both Mac and Kenneth of their outer personas and forces them to depend on each other for survival, the bond that forms between them as a result is one that neither anticipated.

HEART OF THE MATTER is a well written and complex story about life, love, faith, forgiveness and trust. LaQuette is one of the most honest and real authors I've ever encountered. Focusing on essence of human nature, while at the same time telling a story that is suspenseful, sensual, and emotionally engaging, HEART OF THE MATTER is a truly unique reading experience.

One of my favorite characteristics of LaQuette's books is that just about the time I think the story is coming to an end, I discover that I'm only half way through the story, and she's about to take me on a journey that leaves me breathless. With diverse characters and a descriptive writing style that is uniquely hers, HEART OF THE MATTER is a vivid contemporary romance that I would give more than 5 stars if I could!
View all my reviews
A native of Brooklyn, New York, LaQuette spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Educator. Writing: her escape from everyday madness has always been a friend and comforter. She loves writing and devouring romance novels. Although she possesses a graduate degree in English Lit, she'd forego Shakespeare any day to read something hot, lusty, and romantic.

She loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running around in her head causing so much trouble. Contact her on Twitter, her Website, Amazon, and her Facebook group, LaQuette’s Lounge.

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