Thursday, August 11, 2016

Small Town Big Trouble

With: Nico Rosso

Congratulations to "Julie", the winner in Nico's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

The danger of a big city can be clear as soon as you hit the streets. The endless buildings and churning traffic seem like giant machines, constantly grinding and capable of chewing people up with concrete and steel teeth. I grew up in Los Angeles and understood it wasn’t always a safe place. But recently, my wife, Zoe Archer (who also writes as Eva Leigh), and I moved to a small town. I was shocked to learn some people don’t lock their front doors here. It seems like a secure place, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get the big city caution out of me. 

In ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT, my second Black Ops: Automatik romantic suspense, I found the insidious danger of a small town to be the perfect setting for the action. Former SEAL Ben Jackson and retired covert soldier “Bolt Action” Mary are Automatik teammates sent to Morris Flats, Illinois to do recon on possible gunrunners. When their cover stories start flirting, things heat up between them. And when they start getting closer to the gunrunners, a deadlier danger arises. 

A small town is a great backdrop for romantic suspense. For one thing, strangers stand out. My hero and heroine are undercover, but they aren’t able to move about anonymously. They’re noticed by the locals, good and bad, making their investigation that much more difficult. 

Because of this scrutiny, there are few places to hide. A full city offers up neighborhoods, industrial areas and plenty of streets and freeways for quick entrances and exits. But a small town limits these resources. Any infiltrators need to be nimble and fast thinking in order to stay hidden once the heat is on. 

Even if the hero and heroine find good cover, they’re still out of their element. Any local already knows the best places to hide and would immediately search out those spots. This is another reason small towns can be great spaces for tension. Their history can be as tight as razor wire. Family lines are tied to local businesses and can lead hundreds of years into the past. With that kind of timeframe, there are plenty of opportunities for feuds and grudges that only need the smallest spark to ignite. 

So if you live in a small town or the big city, can you think of some other reasons a contained location is a good setting for a romantic suspense? 

Thanks for stopping by and joining in! One lucky contributor will win a $20 Amazon gift card. 

Former navy SEAL Ben Jackson knows that sexy “Mary Long” is nothing but a cover; that beneath the stylish clothes and flirty smile is a stone cold super-soldier no one ever gets close to. Until her kiss hits him like one of her sniper rounds. But Morris Flats is no place for a hookup—menace hums through the town, and the more the two operators keep pushing for answers, the more deadly the current seems to run.

For former Special Forces sniper Mary Kuri, flirting with her muscular teammate feels like playing with fire. It’s hard to tell where the cover ends and the real feelings begin. What she does know is they can’t afford to lose focus. Their mission is to gather evidence, and with the gunrunners watching their every move, a single mistake could prove fatal.

It’s two against the world, and Ben and Mary are about to discover that not only do the lives of innocent people hang in the balance, but they’re also fighting to save the rare connection they’ve found with each other.

About Nico:
Nico Rosso was a writer in search of a genre until his wife, Zoë Archer (AKA Eva Leigh) brought romance into his life in more ways than one. He’s created sci-fi and post-apocalyptic romance worlds, as well as working with his wife on the steampunk Ether Chronicles series. His paranormal Demon Rock series brought you satyr rock stars and the Muses who feed them. With the romantic suspense Black Ops: Automatik series, he takes you into the deep dark world of secret operations designed to protect the innocent.

When he isn’t writing, Nico works in the shop creating furniture and hammering on other projects for the house he shares with Zoë and their two cats in the central coast area of California.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST August 11th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. Sounds like a great book, I love reading about Black Ops novels.

  2. Sounds like a great read. Contained locations are good for romantic suspense cause the characters often end up forced to spend time together. And from a readers perspective you know they haven't really got anywhere to run and hide, so you're left waiting to see how they're going to deal with whatever big bad is coming.

    Goldgirl149 at hotmail dot com

  3. This is a new author and series to me but it sounds like a fantastic one. Going to add it to my to-read list!

    thebigbluewall77 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  4. I think familiarity, proximity and the town's busybody could be the make or brake for romantic suspense. And this blurb sounds reaaally promising (I haven't had chance to read any of Nico Rosso's books but this could be a good start!).
    puspitorinid AT yahoo DOT com

  5. Thanks for the post. I love discovering new authors. As for the small town being a backdrop for a romantic suspense... I'm not the biggest fan of small towns. I find them to be too limiting and somewhat clichéed when it comes to the folks, but I have to admit that it always works when it comes to suspense novels. There is just something nail-biting in knowing that the villain is someone everyone knows or has at least met.


  6. this looks and sounds aaaawesome :) Congrats on the new release! I think a small town is a great setting for a romantic suspense since it "isolates" the players. Keeps them on their toes since they could be found out much more easily and they have to keep cover so closely. Thanks for sharing!

  7. A small town can add conflict given that news (gossip) travels fast and can provide unexpected results for a romantic suspense.

    janet_kerr at msn (dot) com

  8. I live in a small town, and am very aware of how anything out of the normal stands out. Once my husband was pulled over for speeding and before we even got home someone had told his parents and they'd called us. That kind of gossip chain makes it nearly impossible for an outsider to get away with anything.
    Even if it's stop a bad guy, since we tend to take the side of the townie before we trust out of towners.

  9. Thanks for coming by, everyone! Looks like you all have a lock on how small towns can isolate our heroes and make keeping their movements secret quite difficult. That's a great (and kinda scary) example of news traveling fast in a small town, Ginny.

  10. There's no way you can get away with anything in a small town--someone's always peeking out their window and poking their nose into your business.

    julieguan AT gmail DOT com

  11. Small towns make for great settings. Love the sound of this.


  12. Well, it's a lot more difficult to keep something secret in small town, but it's more exciting for a romantic suspense setting :D
    This book sounds great!
    Thanks for the great post :)

  13. looks interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  14. Yeah, how do you keep a secret with nosy neighbors, right? And now with community Facebook groups, there's instant distribution of information.

  15. For big town sometimes your neighbor don't even know what you're doing. You can be something else entirely easily.