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Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Nancy Herkness!

*Giveaway!* Easy Entry! U.S. only~Ends Oct. 4th

Nancy Herkness

Today’s featured guest is two-time RITA®nominee and award winning author, Nancy Herkness! Learn some interesting facts about Nancy in this short Q&A. Leave a question or comment on the blog for a chance to win a signed copy of The Hacker! (U.S. only)

When a personal trainer and a computer genius are caught in the dark web, there’s a lot to fear and a love to fight for in a heart-racing novel by Nancy Herkness, award-winning author of The Money Man.


What genres do you write? 

I write contemporary and contemporary romantic suspense.


Coffee or tea lover? 

Peppermint tea.


Name one thing on your bucket list. 

Transiting the Panama Canal on a small ship.


Do you have pets?

I have two rescue tabby cats, bonded brothers, named Skoda and Mobi.

When I wake up every morning I…

Put on my exercise clothes and do a virtual Jazzercise class. I love to dance to the music.


Weirdest or unique thing you own. 

A piece of a pallasite meteorite. I acquired it when I was doing the research for my second book, Shower of Stars.

Do you have any hobbies or particular skills? 

I used to have hobbies. Then I became a writer…. Wait, is traveling a hobby? I love to do that.

What do you hope readers will experience or gain when reading your stories? 

I want to sweep my readers away into a world where they can be certain that all obstacles will be overcome to reach the happily-ever-after. I want to remind them of everything that’s good about human beings, especially the power of loving one another. And I want them to experience the wonderful intensity of falling madly in love.


What inspired you to write The Hacker

Many moons ago, I was in the IT business (we called it data processing back then) and I really loved the challenge of constantly keeping up with the changes in technology. So I thought it would be fun to have a hero who was a tech geek, which led me to create Leland Rockwell. He’s super smart because I find brains very sexy. He also lives almost entirely in the digital world. I paired him up with a woman who is very physical, Dawn the personal trainer. She’s action; he’s thought. I’ve always wanted to write a “nerd” hero falling for a kickass heroine so this gave me that chance.


Two or three words that best describes your writing style.

Sexy, intense, emotional.

About Nancy Herkness

Nancy Herkness

Nancy Herkness is the award-winning author of the Second Glances, Wager of Hearts, and Whisper Horse series, published by Montlake Romance, as well as several other contemporary romance novels.  She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. 

Nancy has received many honors for her work, including the Book Buyers Best Top Pick, the New England Readers’ Choice award, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.  She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in English literature and creative writing.

A native of West Virginia, Nancy now lives twelve miles west of the Lincoln Tunnel in suburban New Jersey. 


 Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Nancy Herkness!

When a personal trainer and a computer genius are caught in the dark web, there’s a lot to fear and a love to fight for in a heart-racing novel by Nancy Herkness, award-winning author of The Money Man.
Dawn Galioto is an expert in self-defense and the most in-demand personal trainer at her Jersey gym—a perfect position for a woman fighting her way out of a troubled past and the anxieties that come with it. Then, after complaints about baffling Wi-Fi glitches at the gym, Dawn calls in disarmingly hot, high-powered computer consultant Leland Rockwell. If she can trust anyone to fix her on-the-job problems, it’s Leland. As for healing her off-hours fears, time will tell.
The cybersecurity genius of KRG, Leland sees a lot to admire in Dawn. She’s strong, quick-witted, and sexy. And something of a puzzle—one Leland wants very much to solve. If only she’d let him. Every new reveal brings him intimately closer to Dawn, but there’s another, more dangerous riddle to decipher. After going undercover to solve her Wi-Fi problem, Leland’s found a dark workplace secret. As Dawn’s past threatens a burgeoning romance, the deepening mystery they’re discovering threatens their lives.

The Hacker by Nancy Herkness
Published by Montlake Romance on August 4, 2020
Buy on Amazon

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Excerpt of The Hacker by Nancy Herkness


Chapter 1

“Five more reps,” Dawn Galioto commanded her friend Alice Thurber, who was lying on her back on a weight bench.
“I think I hate you,” Alice gasped out as she struggled to lift two ten-pound dumbbells into the air above her chest.
“You want to look good for your wedding, don’t you?” Dawn gave Alice her best encouraging but no-nonsense smile. Six years of being a personal trainer had allowed her to perfect it.
“Low blow. Only for Derek would I let you torture me like this,” Alice said, shoving the dumbbells upward with renewed determination.
“He’s pretty good motivation, I gotta say,” Dawn agreed with a nod that made her straight, dark-brown ponytail swing over her shoulder as she knelt to spot her friend. Alice’s fiancé looked like a movie star.
“You know,” Alice said, “I can always have my dress made with long sleeves.”
Dawn smirked. “That would be cheating.”
Alice pushed out the final few reps, and Dawn relieved her of the dumbbells. “My arms feel like rubber bands,” Alice said, sitting up and shaking out her abused limbs.
“Yeah, but flex them, and then check out how amazing your back looks in the mirror.”
Alice flicked her long braid to the side and craned her neck to see her reflection in the mirror. “Oh my God, I have actual muscles!”
“Because I am very good at my job.” Dawn slotted the weights back onto their stand and tugged down the electric-blue tank top all the trainers at the Work It Out gym wore over their black leggings. “Now head for the mat. It’s time to stretch.”
“And it’s going to hurt so good,” Alice said with a grin as she quoted Dawn’s favorite saying.
“Admit it. Stretching feels great.” In fact, Dawn wished she could have someone stretch her the way she did her clients. But having anyone looming over her while she lay on the floor freaked her out. It yanked her back to a bad time.
“Depends on the day.” Alice grabbed her phone. “Just let me show you the headpiece for the veil I’m considering and see what you think.” After she tapped at her phone, she looked up. “You haven’t forgotten about coming to my house next Sunday to help me with the wedding dress design?”
Dawn sighed inwardly. She spent all her time in workout clothes or jeans. What did she know about designing a wedding gown? But she was a maid of honor so she had to support her friend. “I’ll be there with bells on.” Luckily, the other maid of honor, their friend Natalie, had serious fashion sense.
Despite her worry about advising Alice, a warm, fuzzy feeling spread through Dawn’s chest. She was still amazed that Alice wanted her to have such an important role in her wedding. She wasn’t used to having close friends anymore. Her kind of baggage was more likely to scare them away. “Okay, I’ll take a look at the veil thingie.”
Alice stared at her phone in exasperation. “What is wrong with the gym’s internet service these days? It’s about as speedy as a teenage snail on its way to school.”
“I didn’t know snails went to school.” Dawn grabbed a paper towel to wipe down the weight bench.
“You know what I mean.” Alice checked her phone and blew out an exasperated breath. “Are they ever going to fix the problem here? No one’s been able to stream TV on the treadmills for the last two weeks, at least.”
“Yeah, the customers are pretty grumpy about it.” Dawn shrugged. “Vicky’s brought in a bunch of different tech geeks to try to get it back to normal but none of them can find the problem. My personal suspicion is that they’re all relatives of hers and she’s giving them the work as a favor.” Vicky was the wife of the gym’s owner, Ramón Vazquez, the man whom Dawn owed her present career to.
“You know who could fix it? Leland Rockwell. In about five seconds with one hand tied behind his back.”
A little jolt of awareness zinged through Dawn. She had met Leland Rockwell a couple of times at parties Alice and Derek had thrown in their spectacular Manhattan penthouse apartment.
Leland was the computer genius at KRG Consulting, the firm Derek, Leland, and their third partner, Tully Gibson, had founded. Dawn had never said much to him because he was scary smart, and she felt intimidated since she was a college dropout. Although she loved listening to his honey-smooth Georgia drawl when he talked to other people. It seemed to wash through her like a warm sea and softened the intimidation factor somewhat.
She’d also noticed his lean, sculpted body with the surprisingly wide shoulders because that was her job . . . or so she told herself. His face had the elegant bone structure of old money, and there was a courtliness to his manners that screamed private school. He tried to disguise that by wearing the computer nerd’s uniform of T-shirt and jeans, even at the parties. Behind his tortoiseshell glasses, his vivid blue eyes gleamed with that formidable intelligence that Alice was referring to.
And Dawn always knew exactly where he was in the room at those parties.
“Finally!” Alice jerked Dawn out of her daydream by holding up her phone with photos of an embroidered lace veil attached to a crown of pearls and white silk flowers.
“It’s beautiful,” Dawn said sincerely. “It looks like it could be on the cover of one of those Regency romance novels you love so much. But not outdated or anything.”
Alice beamed and took the phone back before she hugged Dawn. “Thank you! That’s what I hoped you would say. I’m so excited!”
After a split second of hesitation, Dawn returned the hug. “You’re going to look amazing no matter what you wear.” She stepped back. “Now it’s time to stretch.”
Alice obediently lay down on the foam mat, and Dawn gently pushed her friend’s bent knee across her body. Alice made a little groaning sound before she asked, “Who’s the new trainer over at the ellipticals?”
Dawn glanced up at the muscle-bound blond man in his late twenties. He was berating a sweaty, middle-aged client with a paunch to leave it all on the gym floor. “That’s Chad, the former high school quarterback and new favorite of all the ex-jocks and wannabe ex-jocks. He’s got that whole ‘no pain, no gain’ vibe going.”
“You’re not a fan,” Alice said.
In fact, Dawn had turned down several invitations to go out for drinks with the new trainer. The man couldn’t take no for an answer, so now she actively avoided him. “I prefer to find other ways to motivate my clients to work harder.”
“Like reminding them they will be wearing a wedding dress in six months.”
“You pushed out those last five reps like a champion, didn’t you?” Dawn moved to Alice’s other side. “Why are you even looking at other guys with a fiancé like yours?”
“I’m not looking at them that way. I’m interested in the people you work with because you’re my friend.”
Dawn grunted, but the happy warmth returned to her chest. Alice was good about showing her that friendship went both ways. Dawn struggled to remember that sometimes.
“Which reminds me . . . I wasn’t kidding about Leland.”
Dawn pressed her friend’s shoulder to the floor. “I’m pretty sure the gym’s tech budget isn’t up to paying KRG Consulting’s fees.”
“He’ll do it for free,” Alice said. “Don’t you remember that’s how I first contacted Derek? He started their Small Business Initiative, KRG’s program that offers complimentary assistance to businesspeople like me and Ramón who don’t have the extra resources to solve problems. I was trying to figure out what was wrong with the accounting software my clients were using.”
“I’d forgotten the part about it being free.” Dawn hated to ask for help from anyone, but this wasn’t for herself. It was for Ramón. He had pulled her back from the brink. “Yeah, maybe ask Leland if he has someone who could look into it.” Because she couldn’t imagine the gym’s issue needed the kind of genius Leland was.
“As soon as you’re done tormenting me,” Alice said with a grin.
Two hours later, Dawn stood at her kitchen counter, eating organic Greek yogurt, when an email from KRG Consulting popped up on her phone. “That was fast,” she muttered, putting down her spoon to swipe into the message.
“Shit!” she said when she glanced at the signature.
It was from Leland Rockwell himself. She glanced at the display on her microwave: 9:35 p.m. Alice had said something about the man being a workaholic, but Dawn’s problem wasn’t exactly a high priority for KRG.
Dear Ms. Galioto,
I understand the gym where you are employed is suffering from issues with Wi-Fi performance. I would be happy to help. Perhaps it would be easiest to put me in touch with the person responsible for the computer systems. I will, of course, keep you in the loop as to my progress on the project.
Leland Rockwell

Should she answer him tonight? She supposed it wouldn’t hurt since he could always read it in the morning if he’d sent it right as he was leaving.
She plunked down on a wooden barstool and frowned at her phone. What kind of response should she make to the founding partner of an international consulting firm? Brief, so she wouldn’t betray the fact that she wasn’t accustomed to business correspondence at such a high level.
Dear Mr. Rockwell,
I will speak with Mr. Ramón Vazquez, the owner of Work It Out, tomorrow and let him know of your kind offer. Thank you very much for your assistance.
Dawn Galioto

She read it over half a dozen times, debating whether her wording was too stiff, too obsequious, not appreciative enough, or too vague. Finally she hit “Send.” When his return email dinged into her phone, she took a deep breath before she swiped it open.
Dear Ms. Galioto,
I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. Perhaps we could dispense with our surnames? They seem somewhat unwieldy since we’ve met before.

She bit out a laugh, then wondered if he was making fun of her. No, teasing her. That was a better interpretation. She could give it right back to him.
Hey, Leland! You’re right.

It took mere seconds before his response pinged in.
Dawn, I’m always right.

That made her laugh again before she stuck her phone in her sweatshirt pocket and finished her yogurt.
Leland was disappointed when Dawn didn’t rise to the bait of his provocative remark about being right. He leaned back in his chair in the room his partners had dubbed Mission Control due to its array of computer screens. This was where he spent most of his work time, rolling his chair among various stations as he juggled multiple projects. Hell, it was where he spent most of his time, period.
When Derek had called to say that his fiancée’s friend needed help through their Small Business Initiative, Leland had felt an odd rush of interest. Dawn was Alice’s personal trainer. Her self-defense instruction had played a significant part in saving Derek’s and Alice’s lives when a psychopathic hacker had held them at gunpoint six months ago. That meant Leland was grateful to her.
He’d met her a few times at the social events surrounding his partner’s engagement, the only parties he felt obligated to attend. He admired her straight, dark hair, body honed as taut as a bowstring, and lips like tempting pillows. The contrast between soft lips and hard muscles had stirred something low in his belly.
However, she tended to say three words to him and then move along. He’d laid on the full southern gentleman treatment, his Georgia drawl as thick as honey. She would give him a long look from those huge, dark eyes of hers and make an excuse to leave. He couldn’t figure out what he’d done to offend her.
Tonight, he’d decided that charm might be the wrong approach. She was a warrior in teaching women self-defense, so maybe she would like a fight. Or at least some mild provocation.
Too bad she hadn’t taken up the challenge. He expected that straightening out the Wi-Fi problem would require about sixty seconds of his time, so the project wouldn’t offer any further contact with her.
Just as well. He had a dozen other jobs to do that contributed to the firm’s bottom line, unlike Derek’s pet pro bono project. He knew in his gut that he was overloading himself because he didn’t want to face the sudden profound absence in his life. But that was what work was for.

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24 responses to “Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Nancy Herkness!

    • Nancy Herkness

      Chocolate! I think chocolate chip cookies are my absolute favorite but any chocolate will do in a pinch. 🙂 Cupcakes work too. How about you? What do you grab on a bad day?

  1. Karen B

    I don’t think I’ve read any of your books – yet! Could you send Leland over to help me with my laptop and new FB layout?? 🙂

    • Nancy Herkness

      LOL! I’d like to have a Leland handy myself. He would solve all my tech problems in 30 seconds flat. Oh my goodness, the new FB layout is a royal pain, isn’t it? I can’t find the things I used to be able to. And the tiny little print in some places! What’s with that?! Argh! There seems to be quite an outcry against it so I’m hoping they decide to let us go back to the one we know and don’t have to struggle with. Good luck with your laptop! Thanks so much for joining the fun!

  2. Lynne Powell

    I haven’t read any of your books Nancy, at least I don’t think I did. I didn’t see a list of titles, so I’ll investigate. I read (I call that my hobby), I like to travel too. How many books have you written?

    • Nancy Herkness

      Lynne, here’s where you can find all of my books: I hope you find something you might like! I’ve published 16 books with a 17th releasing on January 5th. I think reading and traveling are excellent hobbies; they are my top two right now! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

    • Nancy Herkness

      I’m thrilled to be here! My travels are generally not research-related although I sometimes schedule them around a conference or book signing which is extra fun. I think my top three trips have been: The Galapagos, southern Africa, and Alaska. I love wildlife and those places offer quite an impressive array of creatures.

      The Galapagos are especially magical because the critters have no fear of man there. The birds and sea lions let you wander amongst them. In fact, sometimes they get in your way! If you are a bird lover, it’s pure paradise: blue- and red-footed boobies (mating and nesting); waved albatrosses (also mating and nesting); great frigate birds (ditto); Darwin’s finches; herons, stilts, flamingoes, etc., etc., etc. It was amazing.

      Southern Africa has the Big Five, of course, and they are truly BIG! I love zebras and giraffes. Even the warthogs were entertaining, if hideous.

      Alaska is extraordinary in many ways. It’s truly a frontier and it’s HUGE! It has some big wildlife too. Grizzly bears are small mountains with fur. The scenery is utterly breathtaking; I’m fascinated by glaciers and was thrilled to see one “calve.”

      Thanks for letting me relive some fun memories!

    • Nancy Herkness

      I used to knit quite a bit. I miss it now! I also played tennis until my tennis elbow flared up too badly. Can I count Jazzercise as a hobby? I do that now, so perhaps it isn’t true that I have no hobbies at all. LOL! Although I think it’s also for my health, both physical and mental. I love to dance! I do that around my kitchen still. Reading, of course, is something I also do which some consider a hobby. For me, it’s part work and part pleasure. How about you? What are your hobbies?

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