Touch Me

(A Stark International Novella)

by J. Kenner

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner comes a new story in her Stark International series…

Former wild child Jamie Archer can’t believe how amazing her life has become. Not only is she married to the sexiest man on the planet, Stark Security Chief Ryan Hunter, but she’s also set to star in a big budget blockbuster that is sure to send her career soaring into the stratosphere.

Everything is perfect until Jamie, the least maternal person on the planet, finds out that not only is she pregnant, but that her due date interferes with the film’s production schedule.

Ryan has always supported his wife’s ambition, but he never expected to learn that they were having a baby from the shouts of paparazzi. Hurt, angry, and afraid that Jamie will choose her career over their family, Ryan tries to pull her closer, but only succeeds in pushing her away.

Now, as the pillars of their once fairytale marriage begin to crumble, Jamie and Ryan must find a way to outshine the glitter of stardom and rediscover the strength of their bond.

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An Exclusive Interview with J. Kenner

RH: What inspired you to tell our story?

JK: Oh, come on, y’all. Seriously? Nikki’s got a gobzillion kids now, including the unexpected adult kiddo! Sylvia has kids. Dallas and Jane have kids (and, honestly, who would have looked at them on the surface and thought that was something they should do. So clearly, I had to think about it. And you know that old adage about throwing stones at your characters…

JAH: Ha! I knew it. This was all about me.

JK: Maybe….

(JAH starts to lean forward)

RH: (A hand on JAH’s shoulder). Actually, we meant our story in general. You know. That very first book you wrote about us. Tame Me.

JK: Oh. Right. Well, that’s an interesting story, actually. I went into writing Release Me without any thought of you two at all. For that matter, without any thought of Jamie. At least not as her own character. She was Nikki’s completely unfiltered bestie. Then, about two words into her dialogue … well, I fell in love with her.

JAH: Total girl crush on you, too.

JK: Thanks. But I didn’t think you’d have your own book. I wasn’t even thinking about other books at first. But then—because of Nikki and Damien—bad shit started to happen around Jamie, and she needed someone watching her. Enter you, Ryan. And OMG, Jamie made you eggs.

JAH: Eggs? So, you’re saying we have a series of books and a relationship because I made eggs?

JK: If you’d just toasted a waffle, it might not have occurred to me. But you? Actually turning a flame on under a pan? Yeah. That was the spark. Then I got this wonderful call from Liz Berry, and while we’d originally thought about doing a Nikki & Damien story, we landed on y’all’s. And the rest, as they say, is history. You’re welcome.

(JAH and RH squeeze hands).

JAH: Was it hard to figure out what we looked like?

JK: It’s always hard for me. I have a pretty high level of aphantasia (meaning I don’t really see mental pictures. Plus, I have a very high level of prosopagnosia (face blindness). Unless I know someone really, REALLY well, I won’t recognize them when I see them again, especially if they’ve changed their hair. I rarely recognized actors outside of the show they’re on. (I was standing in line for a movie next to Michelle Pfeiffer years ago, and I had absolutely no clue. My friend I was with? It was all he could do not to drool and babble. (Sorry David, but you know it’s true).  All of which means that while I do have a sense of your appearance, it’s not in my head the way it probably is in whoever will end up reading this interview. It’s more like … well, like the matrix.  It’s there, but translatable only to me. Which is the long way of saying that in that sense, it was hard. But at the same time, by the time I sat down to write, I knew you both in my head, so it was also easy. (And, yeah, I realize what a bizarre answer this is.)

RH: How long before you wrote this story were you thinking about us?

Well, since the afore-mentioned eggs. But if you mean “us” as possible parents? For a while at least. Definitely, since your third book. And I think I was pondering it as early as book 2. Before that, I if I’m remembering right, I just wasn’t sure. Because of Jamie. And because early on, I wasn’t sure of Ryan’s stand on the kid thing. It got much clearer once Moira showed up on the page that Ryan is dad material.

JAH: Who would you side with in an argument between us?

JK: Since I like to think of myself as run more by rationality than emotion … I’d side with Ryan … though I may be fooling myself!

RH: What one question would you ask us if you could?

JK: Fame – like serious fame – is definitely on Jamie’s bucket list, and she certainly has all the pieces in place. How do you two think that fame will affect you? Make your bond stronger? Or is it going to be a rough road? And as part and parcel of that, I’d also ask what, if anything, Ryan, would make you put your foot down and give Jamie a harsh ultimatum?

RH: That sounds like another book.

JK: (smiles innocently). It’s certainly a possibility.

JAH: Do you ever talk to us out loud?

JK: Speaking with my voice out in the world, no. But I do have conversations with you in my head that are unrelated to the words that end up on the page. (As you already know!)


Lightning round:  Which one of us would_______


Most likely plan a date night? – Ryan

Most likely forget something at the grocery store?  – Jamie

Choose the movie we watch on a Saturday night? -Jamie

Make dinner/clean up dinner? – Ryan

Pull off an elaborate surprise party? Ryan

Plan a game night with friends? Jamie


Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.

Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.

J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.

Visit J. Kenner’s website and follow her on: