Why Sunday was the worst night in British TV history EVER

You guys, Thom Evans is off Strictly.

I know you can’t see my face, but it’s impossible for me to even type those words without getting teary-eyed. I’m not joking, either. I absolutely LOVED watching him dance. He was so natural, fun and joyful, and he and Iveta were brilliant together. But this weekend, in a massively huge shock that makes me think democracy should be repealed in Britain because people OBVIOUSLY can’t handle it, Thom Evans ended up in the dance-off against another fantastic dancer, even though there are people on the show who would struggle to walk straight.

I don’t get it. I seriously don’t get it. All I can think is that people decided he was safe so they didn’t vote for him. To comfort myself, I’ve put together this post of all of Thom’s dances. This is what I’ll be watching every Saturday night instead of Strictly (not that I’m obsessive or anything).

Friends, I hope you’ll watch these and tell Thom which is your favorite. (A girl can dream about Thom Evans reading her blog, right?) Thom, if you are reading this, you should have gotten to the final. And I’m so sorry you didn’t. Please give yourself a big, comforting hug from me. (A really long hug, maybe with grabby hands.)

Here he is, ladies and gentlemen — the remarkable Thom Evans.

I’m not sure I can choose a favorite. Can you? My daughter, who turned 18 months today, had a brilliant time dancing to the videos, though. And she thought his chest shimmies to Hot, Hot, Hot were HYSTERICAL. I’m still holding out hope that Thom will star in the show that Quinn suggested, Rugby: The Musical.

In other news, I have two books coming out in less than two weeks. Gah! This must explain why my skin looks like a 14-year-old’s. (You’re no longer reading, right Thom?) Here’s more info about each of the books. I hope you love reading them as much as I loved writing them. (They were probably my two favorite books to write so far. So much sexiness and so much fun.)

Tempting the Player
London Legends #3

Tempting The Player by Kat LathamBest friends make the best lovers.

Libby Hart and Matt Ogden are perfect for each other—as friends. They’ve known each other for ages. They act as each other’s plus-ones. They even share custody of a dog. And if there’s always been a little spark between them, so what? It’s never been worth jeopardizing their friendship.

Professional rugby player Matt is fighting for a starter position with the London Legends—and that’s not the only thing he’s fighting. A crippling fear of flying means he’s struggling to get his career off the ground. He has no time for a relationship, even if Libby does make him ache. As an airline pilot, Libby’s looking for a stay-at-home husband so she can have a family without sacrificing her high-flying career. Matt’s certainly not that man.

But just because they don’t have a future together doesn’t mean they can’t have a right now. When Matt asks Libby for help overcoming his fear, they agree to take a vacation from their platonic relationship—whenever they fly together, they can have sex. It’s the perfect way to resolve all that built-up tension. As long as they can avoid getting a little too comfortable…
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Unwrapping Her Perfect Match
London Legends #3.5

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match’Twas a week before Christmas, and at the auction house…

At six foot one, Gwen Chambers has felt like a giant her whole life. She’s a calm, capable nurse saving lives in a busy London hospital, but healthy men give her heart palpitations. When larger-than-life rugby player “Little” John Sheldon convinces her to bid on him in his team’s fundraising auction, she discovers how pleasurable heart palpitations can be.

A rugby player was stirring, with desire no one could douse…

John has wanted Gwen since he first saw her, but when he’s injured in a match just before Christmas he suddenly needs her too. Not only can the sexy nurse help him recover, but she might be able to help him look after his daughter—a shy ten-year-old who speaks only French.

But will it be a Happy Christmas for all, and for all a good night?

From decorating the Christmas tree to ice skating at the Tower of London, Gwen helps father and daughter open up and bond with each other—and she bonds right along with them. But when John’s agent calls with a life-changing offer, Gwen has to decide how far she’s willing to go for her perfect match. Will their first Noël also be their last?

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Video: Rugby star Thom Evans channels Gene Kelly & makes me swoon

I feel like I need to start this post with a little confession. It’s something no one knows — not even my husband. I’ve had a crush on Gene Kelly ever since I saw Singin’ In The Rain on the big screen in L.A. when I was in college.

It’s a totally innocent crush. Sometimes I imagine what it would’ve been like to dance with him — but I have to picture myself being a little kid and dancing with him because my dance moves are so crap that they’d only look cute if I were about four years old.

So how excited was I this weekend when Thom Evans did his best Gene Kelly impersonation while doing the Charleston to “New York, New York” from On the Town?

Answer: VERY.

The boy’s got rhythm! He’s got music! And he’s got this gal rooting for him. Who could ask for anything more?

I watched this dance right after coming home from seeing Gone Girl with my husband. Without giving anything away, it’s not the cheeriest film. This dance lifted my spirits immensely. Hope it does the same for your Monday morning.

Here’s an interview with Thom from the start of Strictly, where he admits loving musicals. Seriously, I don’t know why he would have to hide that as a rugby player. Don’t most rugby training sessions start with a stirring rendition of “Good Morning” and a choreographed dance around the changing room?

Or maybe that’s just my fantasy again.

Happy Monday, everyone! Are you enjoying the Strictly Come Dancing videos?

Videos: Another hot hot HOT rugby player will waltz his way into your heart

My long-time readers will remember that last year I shared videos of the absolutely lovely Ben Cohen dancing on Strictly Come Dancing (the British version of Dancing With The Stars). Despite being profoundly deaf, he took on the challenge of learning how to dance ON NATIONAL TV to raise awareness of the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, which does amazing work to combat bullying and promote equality. Brave, brave, brave.

I was lucky enough to meet Ben a few weeks ago, and he is genuinely kind and funny. I’ve done some volunteering for his foundation, and I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a charity or foundation to support. (You can now preorder his 2015 calendar in the U.S. and in the U.K. It has a centerfold and would make a perfect Christmas gift for your friends, sisters, mom, or your favorite rugby-loving romance novelist. Just sayin’.)

Should we remind ourselves of his dances? Why the hell not? Here he is doing one of my favorite routines.

That right there is a romance novelist’s DREAM COME TRUE.

This year there’s a new gorgeous rugby player strutting his stuff across the Strictly stage, which means…weekly videos!

Ladies and (perhaps one or two) gentlemen, meet Thom Evans.

Not hot enough for you? Try this one.

Be honest: How badly do you want to be Iveta in that video? I’d happily get into distress at that beach.

We all know I’m a sucker for a man with a nice accent, so let’s hear Thom speak. Here he is in his first week of practice, showing off his good humor and his ability to bite his tongue when a beautiful woman tells him not to deflate.

Thom Evans played for Glasgow Warriors and Scotland until a horrific neck injury ended his rugby career when he was just 24. I wanted to show you what Thom has overcome because I think it’s incredible. Warning: This interview from a few years ago shows the moment he got injured. It’s not bloody, but it made me feel sick — especially when they showed his mum in the audience. I can only imagine how she must’ve felt.

What an inspiration to suffer such a terrifying injury and come back to perform the physical feats that Strictly will require. Thom is now a model (because, seriously, wouldn’t you be?) I wonder if he would ever consider modeling for a rugby-themed romance novel cover. Hmmm…

Weirdly, when I had just sent in the final draft of Tempting the Player to my editor, I went to Pinterest and built a board for the book. I never have real people in mind as I’m writing, but after I finish writing I like to build pin boards that keep me inspired during the long wait between turning in the draft and finally seeing it published. Looking for someone who might resemble my hero, Matt Ogden, I typed in a highbrow search term (“super sexy rugby players”) and Thom Evans came up. (So did Ben Cohen, unsurprisingly.) I don’t remember ever watching Thom play, but as soon as I saw his photo I thought, “That’s Matt!”

Ready for more hotness? Grab a fan, ladies and gents.

Follow Kat Latham’s board Tempting the Player on Pinterest.

Thom, best of luck in Strictly. You seem very sweet in your interviews, and I hope you stay on my TV screen for a very long time.

Tempting The Player by Kat LathamFor those of you who are eagerly awaiting Tempting the Player, it’ll be here in just over a month! You can preorder it now, but how about I share a little teaser?

Here’s what you need to know. Matt Ogden is a professional rugby player whose career has hit the skids. Part of the problem is his debilitating fear of flying. Every time he has to fly for a match, he suffers a panic attack that leaves him worthless on the rugby pitch. Desperate to save his career, he asks his best friend, Libby Hart, to teach him how to fly. She’s a commercial airline pilot who’s been in love with Matt since they first met. They live in the same building and even share custody of a teacup Chihuahua, but Libby has had to settle for being just friends.

In this scene, Matt’s team has left him behind in London. Libby finds a way to console him (in the shower) and then takes him and their dog Princess to the airfield where her dad’s four-seater Piper Warrior plane waits for them.

Enjoy!

“Step one,” Libby said, “approach the plane.”

He held Princess’s crate in one hand and grabbed Libby’s hand with the other. He tried to muster a smile but feared it was more a gurn than a grin. “I can do this.”

“I know you can.” She squeezed his hand and led him to Piper, and he set Princess down. This time, Libby didn’t talk him through all of the preflight checks. They didn’t have time to make this a lesson. But he followed behind her and ran his hands over Piper, doing his own inspection as Libby did her much more thorough one.

When she was finished, she untied the plane and slid her arms around Matt’s waist. “This flight might be a little different.”

“You mean because it’s pitch-black out? Or because we’re going to cross the Irish Sea? Or the fact that my team have no idea I’m going to turn up—if I even manage to do this without passing out—and when I get there I’ll probably find out my contract’s being suspended earlier than I think?”

Her brows drew down. “Your contract?”

“It’s this piece of paper I signed saying I’ll play rugby in exchange for money.”

Libby tried to pinch his back, but her fingertips just slid over his suit jacket. “Damn it,” she muttered, “you’ve got, like, no body fat.”

“Cheers. I’ve been working out.”

She rolled her eyes. “Tell me more about your contract.”

“It’s up for renewal at the end of the season—if I make it that long.”

Squaring her shoulders, she made herself as big as a shortie could. “You’re going to make it that long. You’re getting in this plane with me, we’re flying to Ireland, and you’re going to talk to your coach. He can’t get rid of you just because you have a phobia. I don’t know anything about employment law, but I’m sure that’s against it.”

Matt wasn’t so sure, but he also wasn’t going to argue with her. “Then let’s get going.”

They climbed into the plane, strapped Princess’s carrier into the backseat and all too soon had clearance for takeoff. But before Libby advanced the throttle, she slid her hand over his thigh. Suddenly, he was right back in his shower with her kneeling between his feet, rubbing his quads as she gazed up at him and told him more with her eyes than she’d probably wanted to.

“You’re so tense,” she said. “This’ll sound stupid, but maybe it’ll help if you find a happy place during takeoff.”

“Hart, I’m tense because you’re stroking my leg. If you want me to find a happy place, keep on stroking.”

Preorder Tempting the Player now

Who’s watching Strictly Come Dancing? Do you have a favorite couple yet? Who’s looking forward to Tempting the Player? And how cute is Thom Evans?

An American’s Christmas in England

My first Christmas away from home, I got lucky.

I’d moved from Los Angeles to Prague in the Czech Republic and couldn’t afford to fly back for the holidays. I was expecting a lonely few weeks as all of my new friends scattered to be with their families.

But then I met the most incredible guy—a Brit with a luscious accent and a sense of humor as dry as the desert I grew up in.

We got serious very quickly. We’d only been going out for a week when he invited me back to his parents’ house in England for Christmas. Yep—from “Let’s be more than friends” to “Come meet my family and spend the holidays with us” in one week.

By the time Christmas came around, we’d been together a whopping ten weeks. We spent the next two weeks with his family—and holy cow, did I ever get to know them, and their British Christmas traditions, quickly.

His parents picked us up from the airport. Our flight had been severely delayed, so I fell asleep in the car on the way to their house in Norfolk. It was late when we arrived, and my first view of their house included one of my boyfriend’s brothers standing in the living room wearing nothing but his underwear.

Continue reading “An American’s Christmas in England”

Five ways to have a British Christmas

Brits and Americans share a lot of Christmas traditions—such as bringing a tree indoors and hanging stockings in the hope that they’ll be filled with gifts overnight—but the first time I went to my British in-laws’ house for Christmas, I discovered a lot of traditions I’d never heard of before.

In my Christmas novella, Mine Under the Mistletoe, California-girl Ashley fulfils her lifelong dream of spending Christmas in London. If you can’t spend this Christmas in Britain, here’s how you can make your Christmas a little more British.

1. Pantomime

Christmastime is also known as panto season in Britain, the time when B-list (and C- and D-list) celebs find work as cross-dressers in the country’s theaters. Pantomimes are based on classic children’s tales, like Puss in Boots and Cinderella, but with lots of naughty jokes for grown-ups. The main character is almost always a boy, who’s played by a woman. Camp men don padded bras and strut around the stage dressed as older women.

Pantos are hilarious and probably my favorite British tradition—which is why some of my favorite scenes of Mine Under the Mistletoe take place at a pantomime performance of Jack & the Beanstalk.
Continue reading “Five ways to have a British Christmas”