Lori Foster is a New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than 100 titles. She’s known for her fun, very sexy contemporary romantic suspense novels revolving around alpha males who meet (and fall in love with) strong, independent women.
Q Can you describe each member of the McKenzie clan?
- Parrish: Can be Bossy and controlling but is very caring. He’s also motivated by his love for the woman he lost. Parrish is like a suave, super-polished wrecking ball determined to take out evil so no one else will suffer as his love did. He has the wealth, clout, and determination to go up against the devil himself – and while he knows he hasn’t been a perfect father, he loves his children fiercely.
- Cade: Protective, former military, proficient, with quiet authority. Cade is also rebellious and enjoys butting heads with his father on nearly every issue. In many ways he’s a loner. He’ll protect his family – and all innocents – but he isn’t big on group think, and he definitely bristles at edicts from his father, while at the same time he likes order and discipline. Let’s call the man a contradiction, because he is!
- Reyes: Confidant, cocky, likes to irritate people, a teaser, and brash. He’s very much a lover, too, and doesn’t mind who knows it. A super physical guy. Though he’s also smart and motivated, with a bent for home design: he’s good with his hands. Although, he doesn’t particularly want anyone to know about those assets. He prefers the illusion of the super-sexy, cocky, annoying guy.
- Madison: She is a tech guru, must deal with over-protective brothers, pushy, competitive, optimistic, and stubborn. To counter the take-charge tendencies of her brothers, Madison has worked extra hard for equal footing. She’s forthright to a painful degree, and usually only realizes that she’s overstepped after the fact. She loves her alpha family, likes herself as is, understands her own ability and she’s smart enough to realize it’d take one heck of a guy to really gain her interest. Once she finds him, there’s no holding her back. She’s a winner, and never gives up easily.
- Bernard: Comic relief, gentle version of Parrish, advisor, like Alfred in Batman. Bernard is all heart! He knew Parrish and the “kids” needed him, so he readily stepped in to fill an impossible role – and excelled at it. He’s territorial, wise, and when he lets loose, it’s hilarious.
Q Crosby is Madison’s love interest. There is a book quote that talks about Crosby’s profession as a police officer: “they are witnesses to the pain, hunger, neglect, abuse, and violent crime in society.” Can you explain?
Lori: I have massive, MASSIVE respect for law enforcement. Are they perfect? No. Who is? Do I think the vast majority have the best of intentions? Yup. I can’t even imagine the amount of stress they’re under, or the heartbreaking things they see.
I did a ride-along with a police office and he pointed out prostitutes everywhere. I had NEVER seen them. I had no idea. He showed me drug dealers.
Once, in an evening ride-along in California (I was visiting the area) a cop flipped on his lights and people scattered in the most remarkable ways. Groups leaping over walls. Drug deals breaking up. Sex acts breaking up. Again, I’d had no idea! It really proved to me what a sheltered life I’d lead – and that so, so many were not as fortunate.
Q What is the relationship like between Cade and Sterling?
Lori: Adversarial at first, because Sterling has a hard time trusting. But Cade immediately knew that she was different, and how she affected him was different, so he couldn’t give up. Their relationship is based on mutual respect of abilities – and so much more.
Q What is the relationship like between Reyes and Kennedy?
Lori: She sees him as no one else does, and he’s immediately intrigued by her. Few women tell Reyes to get lost, so that hooked him, and his protective tendencies finished him off. That she would rely on him, and need him, not as part of his family but as an individual, meant a lot to Reyes. For Kennedy, being able to trust him without exception is important. To many, they might seem like opposites attract, but really they have more in common than outsiders realize.
Q What is the relationship like between Madison and Crosby?
Lori: Crosby measures up! With examples like her brothers, she couldn’t get too excited over most guys. Plus Madison is really tall with lethal skills, and for her, the idea of being able to best a guy wasn’t that appealing. Crosby isn’t that easy – but at the same time, he respects and admires her ability. Beyond that, he sees her softer side, and he loves how she loves his family. Crosby fought it at first, but it was meant to be.
Q Can you describe the task force?
Lori: It helps victims get counseling, legal representation, financial assistance, guidance, gives physical and emotional support. Their goal is to bust sex traffickers, abusers, and punish them.
This is mostly a Lori Foster’s dream world, where good guys win and bad guys perish, and the world becomes a better, safer place. Individuals need to be more proactive, so I like to imagine those characters and create their stories.
I did base the task force off a real task force, but without the legal ties. My characters are a little more freewheeling with the law. Back when I wrote my first rescue from trafficking” stories: “The Men Who Walk The Edge of Honor series,” the law hadn’t quite caught up with the idea of human traffickers actively operating in rural and suburban settings here in the U.S. Now, if you go to a truck stop or a rest area off the highway, there are almost always posters in the bathrooms advising people what to do if they’re in a situation, or suspect they’re witnessing a situation, that could be abusive. There are dedicated phone numbers to call. Resources. Advisors. Law Enforcement and our military are educated on what to look for, how to recognize the signs.
More and more women, children, and often men, are abused in trafficking situations for sex or forced labor. Look up the statistics – it’s absolutely staggering. I won’t spout statistics to anyone, but if you take 5 minutes to google the number of missing children, and those who’ve been trafficked, it’ll shatter your heart.
Politicians give lip service to solving problems, but on both sides of the aisle, they’re mostly concerned with maintaining their power and giving “their side” the win. We, the people, are never “their side.”
Q What’s next?
Lori: May 9 is The Little Flower Shop, set in a fun, small community of quirky people, featuring a 40 something florist and an almost 40 restaurant owner… plus the town full of characters, family ties, and pets galore. I laughed – and cried – while writing it.
June 1 is Bray, one of my benefit books, which means all advance and all royalties for the life of the book go to the no-kill animal shelter, The Animal Adoption Foundation. I’ve done a benefit book every year for 19 years now. https://lorifoster.com/meet/#benefit
December 26 is The Fearless One, featuring the second Osborn brother, related to The Dangerous One. Memphis is like his brother, Hunter, in many ways, but he’s also different. More laidback, quick with a laugh, and when he falls in love, he doesn’t bother denying it or fighting it. All his focus is on keeping her safe – against any and all threats, and there are many.
“The McKenzie Series” by Lori Foster are great reads. The stories are intense thrillers with characters that are relatable and identifiable. There is plenty of action, some humor, and family bonds. Each book has the serious subjects of human trafficking and abuse embedded in the emotional stories.
The first book in the series, No Holding Back, has the eldest son Cade McKenzie as the hero and Sterling as the heroine. All the family work behind the scenes to take down human traffickers along with Sterling. This is personal for her since the trafficker has ties to her past.
The second book in the series is Stronger Than You Know with Reyes McKenzie as the hero and Kennedy as the heroine along with her friend, Jodi. The story delves much more into the background of why the family seeks justice. Both Kennedy and Jodi are still being pursued by the traffickers who kidnapped them and need Reyes and his family to help.
The third book in the series is Watching Over You with Madison McKenzie as the heroine and Crosby as the hero. Parrish, the matriarch of the McKenzie family hires Crosby to find out who is threatening their family. He and Madison must work together, which is where the attraction between them begins.