Cover reveal for Taming the Legend!

I’m so, SO excited to share the cover for Taming the Legend with you. It might be my favorite cover for my London Legends series. When Carina Press sent it to me, they said it showed the hero in a “sexy yet vulnerable” position. Boy howdy!

So here it is…in a puzzle!

(If you don’t want to do a puzzle, you can see the cover here.)

Taming the Legend comes out on May 11 but it’s available for pre-order. I’ll share the first chapter in a couple of weeks, but here’s more about the book.

Taming the Legend

Book four of the London Legends

When retiring rugby star Ash Trenton considered his next career move, coaching troubled teens at his ex-girlfriend’s California camp wasn’t on the list. But when Camila Morales reappears after eighteen years, begging for his help, he can’t say no to his first and only love.

Camila was just sixteen when Ash moved on to start his rugby career, leaving her heartbroken…and on her own to make a life-changing decision. Now she needs his help to win a tournament prize and save her camp. Relying on Ash is the last thing she wants. But while it’s hard to get over being dumped for a sport, it’s even harder to ignore the rush of attraction that has only gotten stronger after so many years apart.

Coaching teens is the hardest job Ash has ever had, and the task becomes personal when he begins to fall for Camila all over again. But when he is offered his dream job, will he choose the job—or the woman whose heart he already sacrificed once?

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What do you think? How sexy does Ash look in that photo?

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?

Winner of Playing It Close!

Thank you SO much to everyone who stopped by to check out my cover for Playing It Close! I’m really chuffed by all the comments. 🙂

The winner of Playing It Close and a $10 gift certificate is…Michelle G!

Congratulations, Michelle! Email me and let me know what digital format you want your book in and where you want your gift certificate for.

If you didn’t win, you can preorder Playing It Close. It comes out on April 14!

Playing It Close

Playing It Close by Kat LathamBook two of the London Legends

Where do you go to escape everything when you’re one of the most famous rugby players in the world? For Liam Callaghan, that place is a remote lodge on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. Perfect, except he doesn’t exactly want to be alone with his thoughts. Enter Tess Chambers, the ultimate distraction.

Still reeling from a professional disaster that’s made her all but unemployable, Tess understands the desire to move through life as somebody else. So when instantly recognizable Liam uses a fake name, she runs with it and creates a temporary new identity of her own.

Their time spent together in paradise is idyllic but brief—after one passionate night, Liam wakes up to find Tess gone. Returning to London, he’s shocked to learn she’s taken a job with his team’s new sponsor. As the Legends’ captain, he’ll have to not only figure out how to work with the one woman who ever left him wanting more, but also convince her that their feelings in the present mean more than any lies they’ve told in the past.

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Read Chapter One

Ben Cohen shakes his groove thang for equality

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Ben Cohen, a hugely successful English rugby player who’s taking part in the British TV show Strictly Come Dancing. He’s doing it to raise awareness of the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, which funds organizations that are fighting homophobia and bullying.

He’s also ridiculously cute. But that’s not important. Here’s his latest dance.

I know what you’re thinking as you watch that video. “Wow, what an amazing philanthropist. I want to rub my hands all over his firm stance on equality.”

Hey, you’re only human.

When this season of Strictly started, my husband and I were talking about what a shame it is that no one is paired up with a same-sex partner. Some of the male dancers and celebrities are openly gay (I don’t know about the women, but presumably some of them are too), yet they still dance with someone of the opposite sex.

I recently read an article that Ben Cohen felt the same way. In fact, even though he’s straight, he apparently wanted to be paired up with Robin Windsor, my favorite dancer on the show.

I know most of you are in the U.S. and might not be familiar with Robin Windsor, so let me tell you about him. Robin Windsor is built like a brick shithouse – but he’s not afraid to get a bit tearful when he and his partner are eliminated from the competition.

Big men with big hearts. They get me every time.

Because Robin’s so strong, he’s usually paired with celebrities who are average size or larger. If I were on Strictly, I would probably be paired with him.

But that’s not why I’m so fond of him. I love him because every year when he finds out who his partner will be, he looks like he can hardly believe his good luck. I can practically hear him thinking, “Score! *fist pump* No waif for me! Baby, you’re gonna learn how to dance!”

And because I can put myself in those women’s shoes (or Spanx, as the case may be), I can imagine how reassuring it would be to receive that look when standing next to a woman whose body will stop doing the cha-cha when the music stops, whereas my boobs and bum would keep on groovin’.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so a video must be worth a million, at least. Here’s Robin doing one of my favorite dance routines with his partner Lisa Riley last year. Make sure you watch all the way to the end. It’s brilliant.

I would looove to see Ben and Robin dance together, and not for some voyeuristic guy-on-guy fantasy, either (Really. Not at all. Seriously.). I’d love to see them dance together because the more we break down stereotypes, gender roles and unfounded fears surrounding homosexuality, the better our world will be.

Homophobia is pervasive and destructive. It creeps into even the most innocent conversations and touches people of all ages. My little girl, Doodle Bug (not her real name), is only six months old, but I’ve already been asked by two people how I’ll feel if she grows up to be gay.

Seriously? Why is this still a question?

Here’s my answer: I would love, LOVE for her to grow up and fall in love. More than that, I want her to fall in love with someone who loves and respects her in return. Whether that person’s plumbing is indoor or outdoor makes jack-all difference to me.

When I think about the qualities I hope she’ll find attractive in people – compassion, humor, intelligence – the nature of their genitals is nowhere on the list. I couldn’t care less if their genitals hang low, if they wobble to and fro, if they can be tied in a knot or indeed in a bow. Couldn’t. Care. Less.

I have friends whose husbands have slapped and punched them. I have friends whose husbands have told them they’re nothing. NOTHING. I have friends whose husbands coerced them into consenting to sex, which is not consent but rape. I have friends whose husbands have said, “I’ll kill you if you ever leave me.” I have friends who have been abused, defiled and threatened by the men who swore in front of their families and friends to love, honor and cherish them forever.

I have a friend who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. She was an aid worker and a rugby player. She was wickedly funny, brilliant, fearless and passionate. She’d just returned from a dangerous posting in Pakistan and was murdered in her own home by someone she’d once trusted.

Ask me again how I’ll feel if my baby falls in love with a woman who loves and respects her.

How many kids out there hear their parents asked that same stupid question but get a different answer? How many hear, “I’d be horrified if my child were gay.” How many are damaged by shame or by feeling like they’re alone in the way they feel?

While part of me knows that it wouldn’t be hugely groundbreaking to see two men dance together on TV, another part of me can’t recall seeing it happen when it wasn’t played for laughs (“Look at how uncomfortable the straight guy is, haha.”). And I can’t remember seeing two women dancing together when it wasn’t done for the titillation of straight men.

Me and Doodle Bug in LondonI want my daughter to grow up believing that everyone deserves respect. I want her to see healthy interactions between people who respect each other – whether they’re the same sex or not. I want her to watch Ben and Robin waltz together because I want her to grow up thinking that men dancing together is unremarkable.

Of course, she probably wouldn’t pay any attention. Right now her idea of a good time is being able to gum her own foot – or any foot close enough to divebomb mouth first. But if they waltzed barefoot, she’d be riveted.

You know what I really want? I want Doodle Bug to come to me in twenty years and say, “Mom/Mum, what was the big deal about Ben Cohen?” Then I can explain to her that it used to be remarkable for a straight athlete to stand up for equality, respect and basic human dignity – and we can both marvel at how far the world has come.

Right. I’ve never been too comfortable around horses, so I’m going to slide off the high one I’ve been on since I started writing this post. If you have time, go check out the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation. Maybe support them by buying a T-shirt or making a donation. If you don’t have spare cash, then do something for free: tell your friends about them on Facebook or Twitter.

Do it to support a whole load of organizations that’re fighting bullying and homophobia. Do it for Ben’s chest. (There’s no connection, but look at that chest. Did you notice it? You might need another look. Go on, I’ll wait.)

Dancing in Ethiopia

I’m going to Ethiopia for work this weekend, so since I’ve been thinking about my coming trip to Ethiopia – and dancing – here’s a video I took when I went to Ethiopia last year. It’s in a dance club in Bahir Dar, a city along the Blue Nile.

Ethiopian dancing is so freaking cool that I think we should campaign to get it added to Strictly. I may not be able to watch Ben and Robin waltz together (such a shame!) but maybe they could stand next to each other and bust a few of these moves. (If you don’t have ten minutes to spare, fast forward to 7min 30sec and watch till the end. Those are the moves I want to see busted.)

In other news, I handed in the final edits for the second book in my London Legends rugby club series. Yay! Playing It Close comes out on April 14, and it stars Liam, the team’s fly half. I really, really enjoyed writing his book, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Also, don’t forget that my Christmas novella, Mine Under the Mistletoe, comes out on December 5th. You can pre-order it now.

In fact, I think I’ll give away a copy of Mine Under the Mistletoe to someone who leaves a comment on this blog post – a reward for reading all the way to the end! I’ll choose a winner when I’m back next week.

That’s it from me! I’m off to Ethiopia, where I’ll be training African journalists who cover HIV issues, helping them improve their writing, blogging and social media skills. One of my key messages is to keep their articles short and to the point. Ha!

Have a great week everyone!

If you liked this post, you might like:

My guiltiest pleasure

For the last few years, I’ve had a secret obsession that only my husband knows about, but this year it’s become so bad that I can’t keep my mouth shut.

People, I love Strictly Come Dancing.

For those of you who’ve never heard of it, it’s the British TV show that Dancing with the Stars is based on. Sequins, glamo(u)r…and incredibly talented people learning how to do something they’re not incredibly talented at. What’s not to love?

This year, I can’t take my eyes off Ben Cohen. Those of you who know my books will be unsurprised to hear that he’s a rugby player. One of the all-time greatest English rugby players, in fact.

Watch this video of his dance from two weeks ago and I think you’ll understand why I find him riveting.

When he and his dance partner Kristina finished this dance, one of the judges commented on how nice it was to see a big man being gentle. That’s exactly why I want Ben Cohen to make it to the final and use his massive biceps to hoist the trophy above his very cute head.

There’s another reason, though. Aside from his triumphs on the rugby pitch, he’s also known for the foundation he started, the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, which combats bullying and homophobia. He campaigns for equality and respect; he’s a straight man who’s not afraid of his status as a sex symbol for other men. Those acts make him heroic to me.

He’s also learning how to dance – on national TV – when he’s clinically deaf. Talk about freaking brave.

The judge’s comment about big men being gentle has stayed with me. It struck a chord because I realized how much more I want to see that in life and in popular culture. My husband is 6’3 and the most gentle person I know. The men I write about kick ass (or arse) on the rugby pitch but show patience and kindness off it. The world needs more of that.

Rock on, Ben Cohen. I hope you do really well on Strictly, but more than that I hope your foundation helps society become a kinder, gentler place.

Is anyone else watching Strictly? Who are your favorites? I encourage you to check out the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation this week. And if you need a bit more convincing, here’s Ben’s latest dance. Enjoy. 🙂

Later this week I should be able to share the cover for my Christmas novella, Mine Under the Mistletoe. Not a rugby book, but it is set in London at Christmastime. Trust me, there’s no place more romantic at Christmas!