The Hunted Series Book 1
by Ivy Smoak
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
When Penny Taylor runs into a handsome stranger in a coffee shop, she believes her luck has finally changed. After having her confidence unwound by her ex, she falls hard for a true gentleman. But once she realizes that her crush is her communications professor, her world is turned upside down.
Haunted by dreams of the alluring Professor Hunter, Penny can't seem to dismiss her fantasies and the temptation to have him grows deeper. Will the excitement, danger, and mystery surrounding Professor Hunter bring her to her knees?
This book is intended for mature audiences.
Add to Goodreads
Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo
"Miss Taylor, is that you?"
My whole body froze at the deep voice. I was wearing the most inappropriate outfit I had ever worn, and now my white tank top was drenched and completely see-through. "Um...no. You have the wrong person." I quickly started walking again, but my high heels prevented me from moving too fast.
I turned around and stared up at Professor Hunter, who was as unbelievably sexy as ever. He was wearing a pair of jeans that hugged him in all the right places, and a leather jacket with a plain white t-shirt beneath it. He looked the same as he did in class, except that he had a 5 o'clockshadow and an umbrella.
"Professor Hunter, I'm sorry..." I let my voice trail off and I folded my arms across my chest to help hide my most likely exposed breasts.
He lowered his eyebrows when I said his name, just like he had in his classroom. "You like to apologize when you've done nothing wrong."
I probably imagined it, but it felt like his eyes lingered for a moment on my legs. He moved toward me so that I'd be under his umbrella with him. "Is everything alright, Penny?"
My eyes were probably red from my angry tears. I was hoping he wouldn't be able to tell in the rain. "I'm fine."
"Then what are you doing out so late all by yourself?"
"I could ask the same of you." I rolled my eyes at myself for being so immature.
"I was just going for a walk."
"Me too," I responded quietly.
He laughed. It was an enticing sound. I drew a little closer to him and let my arm brush against his.
"Are you cold, Penny?"
Cold and mortified. I nodded up at him. I liked the way my name rolled off his tongue.
He handed me the umbrella as he slid out of his jacket. Then he held his jacket out for me and I slipped one arm in and then the other. The leather held the scent of his cologne. He took the umbrella and held it above both of us again. He was such a gentleman.
"Well you really shouldn't be out alone this late, Penny," he said. "Especially in those walking clothes."
"Neither should you."
He laughed again. "Is your dorm near here? It would make me feel much better if I escorted you home."
"I live in Sussex."
"This way then," he said, and placed his hand on the small of my back for just a second.
We walked in silence for a few minutes. Every now and then I'd stumble a little in my heels and his hand would briefly touch the small of my back again. Each time he did, I felt like my heart would beat out of my chest.
"I'm not good at giving speeches," I said, finally breaking the silence. "I feel like I should just drop your class."
"I wish you wouldn't. If you ever need extra help, I have open office hours. I really am a fairly easy grader for Comm."
"It's going to be extra painful when you fail me, though."
"Why extra painful?" He said "extra" slowly, almost seductively.
"Because you...I mean I. Well, you're..." I let my voice trail off. I wanted to say, "Because you're gorgeous and I have a huge crush on you." I can't believe I almost let him hear me say that.
"Well it does seem that you aren't great at giving speeches," he laughed again. "Like I said, you can come by any time."
We walked along the length of the green. I had dreamt of having a date escort me back to my dorm room. But I only dated immature boys, not men. Professor Hunter was a man. I found myself once again wondering how old he was.
"Have you been a professor here for long?"
"Not long at all. I do love it here, despite how much it rains. Besides, you never know what you'll find during a long walk in the rain." He smiled down at me.
Is he flirting with me? It seems like he's flirting with me!
Before I knew it, we were at my dorm. I stepped out from under his umbrella and let the rain fall on me again.
"Here," I said and pulled off his jacket.
His eyes drifted for just a second to my wet tank top. "No, you can keep it."
"I've been stealing all your clothes. Soon you'll have nothing left."
"That does seem to be your plan." He had a mischievous look in his eyes.
"I insist," I said as I held out the jacket to him.
He took it reluctantly.
"I'm not in trouble, am I?"
"You're a senior, you're of legal age to drink, and you're allowed to wear what you like. Why would you be in trouble?"
But I wasn't a senior, I was a sophomore. And I wasn't over 21, I was only 19. I took a deep breath. He didn't need to know that. "You're right. And I was only walking, after all. Thank you for escorting me home, Professor Hunter."
He lowered his eyebrows when I said his name, just like he always did. But this time the action made me hold my breath. I was wrong about how he looked. He didn't look angry, his eyes looked hungry. I had to remind myself to keep breathing.
"I'll see you at 8 a.m. sharp, Miss Taylor."
"It's a date." My eyes got huge and I put my hand over my mouth. Had I really just said that out loud? I turned quickly away from him and fumbled with my sensor pass to open the door. Finally it clicked. I threw the door open and quickly went inside. I turned around at the last moment to see Professor Hunter staring at me intently, surprisingly not at all perplexed. The door closed with a thud.
The Hunted Series Book 2
Temptation has quickly turned into addiction. Penny Taylor fell hard for the sexy, mysterious, exciting, and dangerous Professor Hunter. But scandalous affairs are meant to go down in flames. Now that he's not speaking to her, she feels numb. And what hurts the most is that he appears to be completely fine. As she struggles to accept that their relationship is really over, her best friend's crude advice is in the back of her mind- the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.
Will she be able to move on, or is her addiction to her alluring professor only just beginning?
Add to Goodreads
Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo
The Hunted Series Book 3
But graduation, starting an internship, and planning a wedding is a lot for Penny to tackle. Especially when mysteries from James' past are clawing at the surface and his scheming ex and unsupportive parents threaten to destroy the happy couple.
Will their own insecurities make them question everything and sway them from the altar?
Add to Goodreads
Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo
The Hunted Series Book 4
With only 24 hours until the wedding, is there enough time to repair the damage? Tick tock.
And even if Penny and James do come back to each other, Isabella is still out there plotting. The world is still against them. Darkness still lurks in the shadows of James' past. A student and her professor were never meant to be forever. They thought it was an everlasting love, but it was doomed from the very start. Tick tock.
Temptation led to addiction, which exploded into an eruption of chaos. And when the pieces settled, only one thing became clear...devotion. One great love. A love worth fighting for. Because the only thing that lasts forever is love.
Add to Goodreads
Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo
The Hunted Series Book 5
But what happens when the life they know is threatened? If a struggle that should bring them closer together begins to tear them apart? All it takes is - One. Single. Slip. Foundations crumble. Will Penny and James continue to defy the odds?
Add to Goodreads
Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads
I'm a total weirdo. Which I'm fine with. I asked my fiancé for help with this question and he said I could just pick one thing about myself and it would classify as quirky. I'm that weird. So let's go with the fact that I'm a hermit. I barely leave the house, except when I go for a run or am forced to go grocery shopping. I'm pretty sure I could stay in my house and never leave for several weeks and be happy. As long as I got to write :)
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
One time I met the green Power Ranger. He later became the white Power Ranger. But when I met him he was the green one. Which is important to note, because that meant it was a time when the Power Rangers were still popular. This was the highlight of my young life, obviously.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I absolutely hate when people talk during shows/movies. Almost to the point where I want to physically assault them. Their fault, not mine. Would the police agree? But seriously, sometimes I feel like I have a problem. Also, I hate when people chew loudly or breath loudly (especially if it's like a whistling noise through their nose). My little sister once told me that she thought I actually have a legit problem called misophonia which makes me more sensitive to those noises or something. So maybe I'm the one with the issue, but everyone else could just chew a little quieter please...
What are your top 5 favorite authors?
J.K. Rowling - I was obsessed with Harry Potter growing up. I dressed up like Ginny Weasley a bunch of times for Halloween.
Ann Brashares - I've never connected to characters more than the ones from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Harlan Coben - He knows how to write a good mystery and I'm always up for the ride with his characters.
Stephenie Meyer - Twilight was probably one of the first romance books I ever read. I never understood #TeamJacob. Obviously it was always Edward...
Ivy Smoak - I've heard she's a little cocky but her books have all the feels ;) You should check them out!
What inspired you to write this book?
For the most part, I was cursed with professors that were either old or gay. Bad luck I guess. But I definitely had crushes on some of my high school teachers. It's easy to daydream in class, and even easier if there's someone in front of you worth daydreaming about. It's such a forbidden dynamic. It's taboo and dangerous, which makes it that much sexier. And that was my inspiration for this book. With the backdrop of my college and my own college experiences. I really feel like you have to write from your own experiences. All of Penny's reactions are how my own would be in the situations she's in.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I am working on a brand new fantasy series with the very talented author Ryan Hauge. I wrote a fantasy novel a long time ago, but wasn't really great at the whole world building aspect. It fell flat. Hauge brings all that to the table. He's creative and his brain is all-inspiring. And I bring what I'm known for to the books...the emotional rawness. I think everyone will really like what we've created together. It's like Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones. There's a little bit of something for everyone in it.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Yes! I have three books that focus on side characters from The Hunted series - City of Sin, Third Chances, and Missing pieces. I fell in love with all the characters from the series and wanted to make sure some of them got their own books to shine in. Also, all of my books weave together a little (usually by just a casual mention of a pervious character). Each novel exists in the same world and I love when storylines collide.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Wilmington, DE, not the "Murder Town USA" part. I feel like that's what Delaware is best known for now. Although, I am only about 10 minutes away from the big bad city. From a Delaware native, what you really need to know about Wilmington is that it's one of those places where everyone knows everyone somehow or another. And I love making fun of that fact in my books. I really couldn't imagine living anywhere else.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Are you planning on assassinating me? Please don't. But if for some reason I knew I was going to die (hopefully not at your hand) I think I'd go nuts. I'd drink too much, try something crazy like LSD, and tell all the haters off. I'd also remind everyone that I love how much I love them. And to finish the day off? I'd probably drive off the side of a mountain into the ocean. I'd like to go out like a total boss.
Who is your hero and why?
My hero is my fiancé. He's my rock. He encouraged me to write in the first place. And he taught me to believe in myself. I feel like I had no self confidence when I met him. And now I'm a cocky asshole. Thanks, babe ;)
What book do you think everyone should read?
Harry Potter. Hands down. It's one of those books that has a little something for everyone. And who doesn't like a little magic?
What kind of world ruler would you be?
Um...a bad one? First of all, I don't like being the center of attention. And second of all, I'm not good at conflict, controversy, or any kind of tension (awkward or not). I'd fail so hard at being a ruler!
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Hands down, it's Rob Hunter (the hero's brother). He's funny and charming in a "he has no filter" kind of way. He's a huge flirt. But he loves hard. I think out of all the characters I've written, he's actually the sweetest and most caring. You just have to get past the ridiculous, sarcastic outer shell.
What makes a good story?
Heart. Good characters that you're emotionally invested in. I put my heart and soul into all the characters and stories I write. And I like to think it comes across to readers :)
What are you passionate about these days?
Wedding planning!! I don't know if I'm actually passionate about that. But I'm passionate about my fiancé. And right now wedding planning takes up all my free time. Hence...that's what I'm passionate about. At least for the next month. But writing is my true passion. I hope I'm lucky enough to be writing for the rest of my life.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I feel like I should have a super exciting and sexy answer to this question, but I do not. In the fall I always watch too much TV because all my favorite shows come back on. I'm also currently planning my wedding...but that isn't exactly relaxing. A warning to all of you out there, wedding planning is stressful. Take my warning to heart. People told me this, and I thought they were being silly. But they were dead serious. I also own an ecommerce business, but let’s be honest, I’m usually writing or watching TV.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
Right after graduating from college, my fiancé and I started a company together. But it was his passion, not really mine. After we got it off the ground and running successfully, I really felt this need to have my own thing that I was passionate about. Writing made sense. I had written a book in college and gotten denied by a bunch of publishers, so I put it on the backburner. But my fiancé was so encouraging. Now that I have over a dozen books under my belt, I absolutely think it was the best decision. I was super shy growing up, and I feel like I've always had so much to say but never really had an outlet. These stories are every piece of my heart and soul. And my fans feel that emotion. I always say if I make people cry while reading one of my books, it's a success.
A day in the life of the author?
Not as glorious as one might think. A successful week for me is hitting 10,000 words. But some days I write 5,000 words and other days I can't write a thing. On those days I sit on the couch and binge watch TV. Or have a crazy exercise day. But my ideal day (which rarely happens): Wake up, go for a run, eat breakfast while reading, meditate, write, eat lunch, write a little more, answer emails and social media stuff (geez I'm always behind on this), make dinner with my fiancé, and then relax (read, watch TV, play outside, etc.) Something random always comes up though to ruin my perfect day. Especially with the wedding planning I'm doing right now. And you know...answering questions like this one :)
Advice you would give new authors?
My main advice for new authors is to just keep writing. And to not take bad reviews to heart. Getting a bad review is really hard to swallow. I'm so devoted to the characters in The Hunted series, that it feels like I actually know them. And it physically hurts me to read a bad review. But as long as you know you put out the best product you could and you're proud of it, you can't let it get to you. The haters gonna hate, hate, hate.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for the millionth time. This book shaped my young adult life. And every time I read it, I relate to a different character more. But for the first time ever, I'm reading if for research. I'm working on a young adult novel right now, and I just hope that my book can influence someone as much as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants influenced me.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing professionally for over two and a half years now. I say professionally because that's when I started taking it seriously. I wrote two books before I started writing romance novels, and they never went anywhere.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I just write. I like to shake the story out of myself. You can always go back and edit. But you only get those raw emotions once. So I always let the characters lead the way. I immerse myself in the story to the point that my fiancé is worried about me. He actually banned me from writing the next installment in my Made of Steel series until after our wedding because it made me too sad.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Temptation?
I always like to say that Penny is me. And James is my fiancé. But he gets upset when I say that. He actually hates James and has always hated James. Maybe because he sees too much of himself in the character? I'm not really sure. But he swears he's #TeamTyler.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I'm always adding in characters as I write. Or going back and throwing in extra people. Part of what makes a good book is an excellent cast. And I do believe that it's more than just the hero and heroine. My books would be rather dull without all the amazing side characters. And I've liked the side characters so much that I've given several of them their own standalone books.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I'm not going to lie - I hate doing research. Just. Hate. It. I want to write about characters and their emotions. I only look up stuff as I'm writing if I really need to. For this series, I had to look up a lot of legal things and university code of conduct issues. But besides that, it's all heart. Well, and a little mystery of course.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
A silly, creative, hopeless romantic.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
Who hasn't had a crush on one of their teacher or professors? It's such a taboo thing. It seemed like the perfect choice for a romance novel. The characters just came to me. Penny is an extension of myself. As for the enigmatic Professor Hunter? Oh James. I just thought of every super sexy, forbidden, delicious, dangerous, secretive thing and packaged them all into one hot professor. He's smooth and sophisticated, but a little broken on the inside. I wanted him to be human. No one's perfect. He's made mistakes just like the rest of us, but has that gorgeous face to hide behind. It's not even fair.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Everything? Is that an acceptable answer? These characters just come to me. It feels like they're real. Like they're family now. Creating these people that seem so real - that's the most enjoyable part. And knowing that someone out there will connect with at least one of them, want to know more about them, and feel like they're family too.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
I'm not going to sugarcoat it - Penny is an immature, indecisive college student. Just like I was at her age. I had to write what I knew. She falls in love easily. She's overdramatic. She's young. She's used to following the rules, but she quickly realizes that breaking them with her professor is way more fun.
James is the double threat - sexy and mysterious. He has a haunting past. Family issues. Addiction problems. He starts teaching as fresh start. And it becomes clear pretty fast that Penny is what makes him tick. Really, she is his fresh start.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Sometimes I still don't consider myself a real writer. It's hard. Ever since I was little I loved reading. And it just seems so out of this world that I'm writing books that others are reading now. Someone pinch me please!! But I probably first considered myself a real writer when I got an email from a reader, telling me how much my books helped them through some hard times. I put a smile on someone's face. My books impacted their lives in a positive way. That makes it feel real. And it makes it all worth it!
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
Temptation was my first real, put out into the world novel. And I didn't know much about choosing titles back then. There's probably a million titles with that name. But I'm really happy with the series it's a part of - The Hunted series. And I named it that because the last name of the hero is Hunter. And the whole time I try to make it clear that since he's older and wiser, he's technically "hunting" the heroine. Therefore she is the hunted. It sounds weird...but I think it works :)
Who designed your book covers?
My super awesome fiancé designed all my book covers. He's talented at everything he does. Almost to the point of annoyingness :)
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. Writing can be just a hobby, but I take it very seriously. I devote so much time to it. Sometimes way too much time. I believe that you have to do your best with everything you do. And I put my all into my characters and their stories. I'm proud of being an author. And I'm proud that I've been able to make a career out of writing.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I really let the characters in my books tell their own stories. I never feel compelled to change anything after it's written. It's what the characters would have done at the time that I wrote it. How they thought. How they felt. I always have to go with my gut on these things.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
First...Ah! Yay! All my dreams are coming true!!! That would seriously be amazing. For the lead couple, I think Liam Hemsworth would be an amazing James Hunter. And Katherine McNamara would be a great Penny Taylor. Can we make that happen? Let's make it happen! Some of my fans have been nominating people on bookcaster too: http://www.thebookcaster.com/temptation/
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I know I say it all the time...but I love you guys. You are the ones that shape the success of my releases and I couldn't do it without you. You're the reason I write. And I'm forever devoted to you <3
What do you think about the current publishing market?
I think that self publishing is becoming the new norm. You just have to set yourself apart from the herd. Put out professionally edited books with good covers and it doesn't matter whether you have a fancy contract or not.
What is your favorite quote or moment from this story?
The whole build up between Professor Hunter leading to this point:
"You're infuriating, Penny," he whispered into my ear.
"Then punish me, Professor Hunter."
Is there a song which you feel perfectly complements your story?
I actually cannot write without listening to music. And I tend to listen to songs over and over again while I'm writing, so there are a few I used as inspiration. Which I'm sure has resulted in them being a perfect soundtrack to the story.
Lots of Taylor Swift songs. Especially Blank Space (I kind of pictured Professor Hunter as Sean O'Pry.) & The Last Time ft Gary Lightbody (For the blossoming addiction between Professor Hunter & Penny).
Sweater Weather - The Neighborhood, Do I Want to Know - Arctic Monkeys, & Love me Like you Do - Ellie Goulding (These songs are like pure heat to me. They're playing in the background every time Professor Hunter and Penny hook up.)
Riptide - Vance Joy (For all the buildup, anticipation, and excitement)
The Heart Wants What it Wants - Selena Gomez (Well...this one kind of sums it up.)
What’s the first thing on your Bucket List?
I want to go to Italy so badly. There's just something so romantic and exciting about Italy. I don't even know if I just like the idea of it now, of if I actually would like it. But I want to go. It's at the top of my bucket list, hands down.
kickoff at Silver Dagger Book Tours
Mythical Books – GUEST POST
Book Bangers Blog
Books are Love
Spunky N Sassy
Jazzy Book Reviews
All Things Bookaholic
AC Squared Book Blog
Lock That Door
Romance Novel Giveaways
Authors & Readers Book Corner
AG - WRITERS BOOKS AUTHORS
Always Love Me Some Books
A Mama's Corner of the World
Books a Plenty Book Reviews
Readeropolis – GUEST POST
Liz's Reading Life
Book Lover in Florida
Lisa-Queen of Random
Bound 2 Escape
Kimmie Sue's Book Reviews & More
Books Dreams Life
Cloe Michael's Reads Blog
Happy Ever After Romance Book Reviews
Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
Pick a Genre Already
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too!
Yearwood La Novela
Mello & June
Books & Spoons
Book Lovers 4Ever
Meghan's Mindless Mutterings: Reviews & Giveaways
Must Read Faster
Girl with Pen
Rabid Readers Book Blog
Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin'
Charmed Book Haven Reviews – REVIEW ALL
Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
Yah gotta read this
YA Book Divas
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
Teaser Addicts Book Blog
Teatime and Books
The Authors Blog
The Bookworm Chronicles
The Book Town
The Pen and Muse Book Reviews
Susan Heim on Writing
Turning Another Page
YA & NA Bookshelf