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Jess K. Hardy | Love Blooms on an Interstellar Pleasure Cruise Ship

The Princess and the Bruiser
Jess K. Hardy



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January 2023
On Sale: January 1, 2023
Featuring: Rax Varon; Kateri Lysero
305 pages
ISBN: 1648983219
EAN: 9781648983214
Add to Wish List

Also by Jess K. Hardy:
The Princess and the Bruiser, January 2023


1. What is the title of your latest release?



2. What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?

Fleeing an arranged marriage to an infamously mysterious prince, a runaway princess with dangerous powers must convince the surly head of security aboard an interstellar pleasure cruise to hide her out on his ship until she can escape—preferably before she gets found out, gets too used to her freedom, or ends up falling for her great big grumpy bodyguard.


3. How did you decide where your book was going to take place?

This is the third book that takes place aboard the interstellar pleasure cruise ship the Ignisar. I grew up with a mother who watched Star Trek, took me to see Star Wars when I was one, and was always reading a Dune book, so sci-fi is in my blood. I loved the idea of a Love Boat type situation among the stars. This book takes a deep dive into the Royal Houses of the twin planets of the Aquilines, Rax’s (our MMC) home planet. It takes place partially off-ship on the smaller planet of the Aquilines as well as on our beloved pleasure cruise with our even more beloved crew.


4. Would you hang out with your heroine in real life?

Princess Kateri (Clara) is feisty, fierce, and indomitable. She’s been through so much, mentally and magically abused by her uncle and largely ignored by her mother since her father, the king, died when she was a child. As many times in her life where she could have broken down, given up, and given in, she never did. She’s a fighter through and through, and yes, I would absolutely hang out with her.


5. What are three words that describe your hero?

Loyal. Protective. Vulnerable.


6. What’s something you learned while writing this book?

I had massive writer’s block coming into this book. I didn’t even know what writer’s block truly was until it hit me. It wasn’t a lack of ideas or a lack of story. It was a subconscious, physical aversion to writing. I would sit down, open my laptop, and be overcome by severe nausea. TPATB taught me to find my way through this mental/physical block by submerging myself slowly into the characters and back into the world of Juniper 13. I gave myself permission to abandon my deadlines (sorry to my editor!) and really sink into the characters of Rax and Clara. Through getting to know them, letting them get to know each other, letting them argue and butt heads and make mistakes and take risks, I was able to push through the block and turn out a story I am immensely proud of.


7. Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?

It’s different for each book. Often, I’ll edit as I write. But I wrote TPATB without much editing. This made the work on the back end a lot more significant, but also gave me some much-needed freedom during the drafting process.


8. What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?

I love a good brownie sundae.


9. Describe your writing space/office.

I write all over my house. In this little sunroom we have, on the porch, on the couch while my husband and son watch TV. I do have a little writing nook in a corner of our bedroom. That’s where I go when I really need to buckle down and get words onto the page.


10. Who is an author you admire?

I recently started reading the Legend of All Wolves series by Maria Vale, and I am completely obsessed. Her writing is lean yet sublime at the same time. It’s wizardry! Her worldbuilding is phenomenal, and she’s so good at making you fall deeply in love with her characters who are wolves, not werewolves, thank you very much.


11. Is there a book that changed your life?

Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon. I was maybe nine when I read it for the first time during a beach vacation where I found it in the beach house’s bookshelf. It was the first time I realized a book could consume me. I read it to my son a few years ago—when he was nine—and I still loved it so much. A brilliant fantasy that really makes me miss multiple POVs in books!


12. Tell us about when you got “the call.”

Well, I think it was an email. I’d been shopping Love in the Time of Wormholes around to agents for about a year prior to hooking up with Heather from City Owl via a Twitter pitch event. She liked the story initially but wanted some changes (it was too long for the Mystic Owl line and she didn’t like the first person POV). After significant revisions, she offered. It was a fantastic day.


13. What’s your favorite genre to read?

It’s a toss-up between romance and sci-fi.


14. What’s your favorite movie?

There are so many, but let’s pick Uncle Buck for today. It’s my comfort movie.


15. What’s your favorite season?



16. How do you like to celebrate your birthday.

I’m 46, so I don’t. Lol.


17. What’s a recent TV show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?

TV show: It’s not terribly recent but Brand New Cherry Flavor was a trip!

Movie: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On PLEASE WATCH IT OMG!!!

Book: Relentless by Katie Golding (my favorite romance of 2022)

Podcast: This Week In Virology


18. What’s your favorite type of cuisine



19. What do you do when you have free time?

When I’m not working or writing, I hike with the dogs, camp, ski, play fighting games with hubs and son (Mortal Kombat all day!), try to figure out how to move to Iceland…


20. What can readers expect from you next?

I recently published a contemporary romance featuring genX-aged characters called Come As You Are. Check it out if you like bearded ex-grunge rockers, struggling single moms making it work, ski-hill shenanigans, and lots of steam! I will be releasing the audiobook for Come As You Are in February around Valentine’s day, and I’m currently working on book 2 in that series.

Thanks so much!


The Princess and the Bruiser

A clandestine marriage? Easy. Not falling for the princess before she jumps across the wormhole and leaves him forever? Impossible.

Rax Varon, head of security on the interstellar pleasure cruise the Ignisar, loathes the Royals of his home planet, especially House Lysero, the palace lording over his home city. The last thing he expects returning from a visit to his mother is the insufferable only princess of House Lysero hitching a ride on his shuttle.

Kateri Lysero is desperate to escape her arranged marriage into powerful and dangerous House Hasantis. Running from her pristine public image, her abusive uncle, and her distant mother, she stows away on the first deep-space shuttle she can find, hoping to vanish among the stars. She never dreamed her survival would hinge on convincing the grumpy green brute piloting the shuttle to hide her away on his infamous sex cruise.

Reluctantly playing bodyguard, Rax helps Kateri hide in plain sight while also keeping her out of trouble. But when trouble finds her, he knows the only way to keep her safe is to teach her to defend herself. When a mysterious Royal arrives on his ship, he learns there’s a better way to protect her. He has to marry her.

Join Rax and Kateri on a wild, emotional ride through the stars where bodyguard-infused enemies to lovers, marriage of convenience/protection, and steamy training montages never felt so good.


Romance Fantasy | Science Fiction [City Owl Press, On Sale: January 1, 2023, Paperback, ISBN: 9781648983214 / eISBN: 9781648983207]

Buy THE PRINCESS AND THE BRUISER: Amazon.com | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Love's Sweet Arrow | Walmart.com | Book Depository | Target.com |

About Jess K. Hardy

Jess K. Hardy

Ashley Cooke will do just about anything to save her struggling ski hill. When she hires the men from a local sober living home for the season to cut costs, even she thinks she’s gone too far.

With her credit cards maxed, her cheating ex-husband intent on buying the mountain out from under her, and record-breaking snow in the forecast,

she can’t afford to be distracted by the six-foot-tall bearded and tattooed sober living home owner moving onto her mountain.





1 comment posted.

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