Turn Up the Heat is Out!

Turn Up the Heat_BellDear Readers,

Turn Up the Heat is out today!

And, yeah. It’s hot this summer. My family took a road trip to the Grand Canyon and several other wonderful tourist destinations in the southwestern U.S., and it hit 117 degrees on our car’s thermometer. We dared one hike into Canyon de Chelly, moving at a turtle’s pace, guzzling water, and drenched in sweat and sunscreen.

Since we’ve been home, we’ve tried to spend as much time as possible at the pool. My kiddos are now old enough to play on their own with just lifeguard supervision which means I can read (or even write)!

I hope you’re able to stay cool—in air conditioning, by the pool, or at the beach—and that you’re finding plenty of time to get in that summer reading. And I hope you’ll enjoy adding Turn Up the Heat to your summer collection. And if it makes your temperature rise a few degrees in the process… I’m (not really) sorry about that. 🙂

I also wanted to let you know about two great giveaways going on this week. I’m giving away a $10 gift card on my Facebook page, and a $20 gift card to current and new subscribers to my (infrequent, new releases- & sales-only) newsletter. You can find the giveaways here:

$10 Gift Card Giveaway on Serena’s FB page

$20 Gift Card Giveaway for current and new subscribers to Serena’s newsletter

As always, I’m so grateful for your support, and thank you for reading!

Love, Serena


About Turn Up the Heat

Aspiring chef Lily McKee noticed Kincaid Graves the first time he walked into the dingy diner where she waits tables. With his ice-blue eyes and primal tattoos, his presence puts Lily on edge—and reminds her of all the unfulfilled longings she isn’t pursuing while she’s stuck in this dead-end job. Without a doubt, the man is dangerous to her long-term plans of leaving town and hiring on at a real kitchen—and yet, she hungers for him, if even for just a taste.

Kincaid didn’t come back to his coastal Oregon hometown looking for a good time or a good meal. The ex-con has a score to settle, old wrongs to set right. But Lily, equal parts innocence and insight, brings out an impulsive side of him he thought he’d left behind in the past. And it only takes one intense moment of weakness between them to make him consider the possibility of an entirely new future—and the promise of passion beyond either of their wildest dreams.

Advance praise for Turn Up the Heat

“Serena Bell nails it. Turn Up the Heat is sexy, emotional, and engaging. I couldn’t get enough!”—Stacey Kennedy, USA Today bestselling author of the Club Sin series

“Serena Bell definitely ‘turns up the heat’ in this steamy read!”—Tina Wainscott, USA Today bestselling author of Falling Fast

“Darkly sexy and deeply emotional.”—Elisabeth Barrett, author of Once and Again


Excerpt from Turn Up the Heat

Copyright © 2015 Serena Bell
All rights reserved — Penguin Random House

He wanted to stay. Because it was a place to be, because there were people here and that felt like company, even if he didn’t interact with them. Because he was used to constant clamor, to being surrounded by human life and foible, and if he went home now it would be another night in that small, dark, lonely cabin. His P.O.—parole officer—had strongly advised him against spending time in bars (“Shit happens in bars”), which left him only a few options for hangouts. This was his favorite.

“You want to stay? Sit and read?”

It was as if she’d read his mind, and the way those green eyes bored into him, maybe she had.

“He’ll be pissed at you.” He gestured with his head at the tubby Greek owner.

“He’s already pissed at me.” She smiled and shrugged.

Brave girl. “You’ll lose tips.”

“I’ll live.”

They both knew he’d tip her well. He’d gone out of his way to tip all the waitresses here generously, in hopes of a favor like this one coming his way. The chance to sit a little longer where the noise in his head wasn’t louder than the noise outside.

“But you do have to tell me your name.”

She’d noticed his evasion, then. “Kincaid Graves.”

“Kincaid,” she repeated. “Nice to meet you, Kincaid.”

“Nice to meet you, Lily,” he said.

She set the check carefully on his table. “Stay as long as you want. I’ll let you know when I need to cash out.”

Maybe she’d look him up and find out what he’d done. He wasn’t sure what she’d find if she searched Kincaid Graves. Graves was his grandmother’s name. You should have something special of mine, she’d said. It was the name he’d always used—but it wasn’t his legal name, so it wasn’t the name attached to court documents and the legions of newspaper articles that had covered his case.

The next time she came in here, maybe she’d look at him the way the denizens of his hometown did, with suspicion and disgust. Then he wouldn’t be able to fantasize that he saw hunger there, and his own response wouldn’t run rampant.

Either that, or she’d react the other way women did when they found out he was fresh out of prison, like dogs to the smell of fresh meat.

He’d heard stories. One guy said that on the outside, he told every woman he met that he’d gotten out of prison the day before. His hit rate for getting laid was 85 percent.

Kincaid wasn’t sure whether women went nuts for the scent of danger or the idea of a guy pent up, restrained, frustrated for so long. Or maybe they had some nurturing instinct gone mad, some need to save or salve. Whatever it was, though, he didn’t want it. Taking it on those terms felt too much like buying it, and that was something Kincaid had never done and never wanted to do.

He watched her for a while, the sweet way she smiled at her customers, set her notepad down on the table, and leaned into one hip to show she was in no particular hurry. He was pretty sure she didn’t even do it on purpose. He watched the way she asked questions and joined in laughter, the way she leaned over kids and admired their crayon artwork, the way she wrinkled her brow and pursed her lips to think hard about something.

Before, he could have tried to be good enough for her, but those were gone days. If he regretted anything he’d lost, he regretted that.

He picked up his book and pretended to read while part of him always knew where she was.